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Technology Sector Exports

Volume 681: debated on Thursday 8 October 2020

Technology is an important and growing sector. In fact, sales of our digital tech exports totalled £23 billion last year, and Oxford Economics thinks they will be worth up to £31 billion by 2025. Our ambitious approach to digital trade in free trade agreements will boost exports and support economic growth, job creation and prosperity. We have negotiated strong measures, not least in Japan, and will seek similar outcomes in our talks with the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership.

Will the Minister tell us a little bit more about the UK-Japan free trade agreement, and particularly how it will help businesses in Warrington South and the north-west to do more business with Japan?

There are specific issues, including not having to worry about the added cost of setting up data servers in Japan because of the elements that look at data transfer; a guarantee that the trade secrets underpinning innovations of entrepreneurs in my hon. Friend’s constituency are protected and do not have to be shared across borders; and a clear commitment that entrepreneurs on both sides of the agreement will be able to operate in an open, secure and trustworthy online environment.

The deal with Japan includes some very ambitious chapters on digital and data, and a deal with the United States is set to benefit tech firms. Will my hon. Friend advise how Black Country firms can make the best of these future opportunities?

Tech firms in my hon. Friend’s constituency and across the UK will benefit from the opening of markets and the minimisation of barriers to trade, which will allow them to expand internationally, not least in the Asia-Pacific region. The joint DIT and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport digital trade network, which was launched by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State in June, will significantly improve our support for businesses from my hon. Friend’s constituency in that fast-growing part of the world.