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Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement

Benefits for Tech Entrepreneurs and Innovators

Key Outcomes

Free flow of data and localisation commitments

Strong rules on data flows will create a more certain and secure online environment and support increased growth in digital trade between Australia and the UK. The A-UKFTA will enable crossborder data flows and prohibit unjustified data localisation requirements, whilst ensuring high standards of data protection.

Data flow is critical to all kinds of businesses, from an Australian hotel receiving bookings from the UK through an online reservation system, to an Australian telecommunications company seeking to provide data hosting services to businesses in the UK. Australia and the UK have agreed to commitments to not force businesses to build data storage centres or use local computing facilities in the other’s jurisdiction.

A new visa pathway to Australia for innovators from the UK

The Innovation and Early Careers Skills Exchange Pilot (IECSEP) will give highly experienced and skilled UK innovators an opportunity to work in Australia for up to three years. The IECSEP will be implemented within one year of entry-intoforce of the A-UKFTA. For more information about the IECSEP, including eligibility, visit Innovation and Early Careers Skills Exchange Pilot.

Breaking down barriers to digital trade

The A-UKFTA will facilitate digital trade by addressing restrictive practices such as requirements for paper-based trade administration documents and making a commitment to accept electronic contracts, except in specific circumstances. Any exceptions will be published on a single government website, providing clarity for businesses. Australia and the UK will aim to establish interoperable electronic invoicing frameworks and ensure that electronic transactions regulations are implemented in a manner consistent with international frameworks. The A-UKFTA also contains a commitment to not impose customs duties on electronic transactions.

Protecting innovation

The A-UKFTA also contains provisions to protect innovation by preventing the forced tech transfer of source code and encryption keys, subject to legitimate scrutiny by appropriate authorities.

Enhanced consumer protection

The A-UKFTA will provide a safe trading environment for both consumers and businesses. New and innovative online protections will include improved enforcement and compliance provisions that: support online consumer protection; include personal information protection; and that discourage unsolicited commercial electronic messages (spam). This includes commitments to cooperate in the development of a Digital Identities framework, and to help users identify themselves online.

Cooperation on evolving issues

The A-UKFTA supports ongoing cooperation on important digital trade issues, including data innovation and emerging technologies, as well as collaboration to improve opportunities for our innovative enterprises. Australia and the UK will work together to build capabilities and cooperate on evolving cybersecurity threats, helping to shape global standards and effective regulations in digital trade.

Financial services

Financial technology (FinTech) services continue to develop rapidly in both Australia and the UK. Provisions on innovative FinTech services will enable services that are new, or delivered via new technologies, to be supplied in each other’s territory, subject to domestic regulatory requirements.


The A-UKFTA contains Australia’s first ever chapter dedicated to innovation. Australia and the UK will establish a Strategic Innovation Dialogue to: promote trade-facilitative innovation policy; cooperate on mutual interests which may include emerging and transformative technologies and supply chain resilience; and encourage trade in innovative goods and services in sectors such as agriculture, health and energy. The chapter recognises the important role that innovation plays to support economic growth by stimulating competitiveness, increasing productivity, encouraging investment, and promoting international trade.

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