UK launches Asia Pacific digital trade network

The United Kingdom is launching a new digital trade network for the Asia and Pacific region that is seen as part of a strategy to turn itself into a global tech powerhouse.

Its objective is to increase digital trade and investment opportunities and to forge new international partnerships for the digital economy with Thailand and other countries in the region, according to a press release from the British Embassy in Bangkok.

It said the three-year pilot scheme, known as Digital Trade Network in Asia Pacific, will run on a budget of £8 million (Bt314 million) and aims to support tech businesses seeking to internationalise.

“We’re creating a new digital trade network – starting in Asia Pacific – to help our firms break into new markets and negotiating cutting edge digital chapters in our free trade agreements,” said UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the recent opening of London Tech Week Connect.

He said the UK “will strive with our friends to design global standards for emerging technologies, safeguarding our values of freedom, openness and pluralism.”

Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific Natalie Black said the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated that digital economy is more important than ever.  “Strengthening the UK’s partnership with Asia Pacific through this new Digital Trade Network will allow us to create new collaborations, driving trade and investment and ensuring we all benefit from the best global digital innovation,” she said.

The press release said as the global economy evolves following Covid-19, demand for digital tech solutions is increasing — from improving supply chain resilience to managing expanded e-commerce.  “Forging new partnerships between the UK and APAC through this new Digital Trade Network will help digital tech businesses respond to this demand, and create exciting new trade and investment opportunities,” it said.

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