A new report was published on 26 November by the Board of Trade, outlining the huge opportunities digital trade presents for the UK. The new report was launched by Anne-Marie Trevelyan at the Board of Trade meeting as part of a two-day visit to Northern Ireland.
This report sets out the Board of Trade’s views on:
- How digital trade is now a central driver of the world economy
- Existing UK strengths in this area
- The opportunity for Global Britain to realise the enormous opportunities that digital trade offers
The UK exported over £200bn worth of digitally delivered services in 2019 and this is set to increase, with investment in global digital transformation rising worldwide following the pandemic. In 2019, the digital sector alone contributed approximately £151 billion to the British economy, employing almost 5% of the national workforce.
Digital trade is rapidly becoming the dominant form of trade. British companies providing innovative, high-quality digital services are continuing to expand around the world, from music streaming, video games and creative industries to our strong legal and professional services sector.
The report cites that the UK has the largest gaming industry in Europe, and the industry is growing rapidly. The sector generated £2.9 billion of gross value added for the UK economy in 2019, up from £0.4 billion in 2010 – an increase of over 600% in a decade. PwC predicts that by 2025 PC gaming will be 98.8% digitally delivered. In the year ending June 2021, there were 33,000 jobs within the video games sector in the UK.
The report referenced the huge growth potential of the UK gaming industry which rests increasingly on international markets, with more people in more countries playing online games than ever before. TIGA estimates 95% of UK games development studios already export their products.
The report recommends that the UK:
- Focuses its digital trade policy around five goals: open digital markets; free and trusted data flows; consumer and business safeguards; digital trading systems; and partnerships to shape global rules, norms, and standards.
- Concludes accession to CPTPP and building a pipeline of modern digital FTAs.
- Pursues a ground-breaking Digital Economy Agreement with Singapore.
- Pushes for substantial progress in ongoing WTO e-commerce negotiations.
- Uses its G7 Presidency, and membership of the G20, OECD, and WTO, to advocate for an open, inclusive digital economy.