New Zealand has partnered with the Governments of Singapore and Chile to create a new set of international trade rules that are better suited for a digital era.

As well as adapting the rules around trade, officials negotiating the agreement have committed to tackling online extremism, in light of the terror attack in Christchurch in March.

Minister of Trade and Export Growth, David Parker – who has been at an Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) meeting in Chile – said the future of trade is digital and, therefore, the rules should reflect that.

"The unprecedented growth of digital trade has led to a lag in the development of relevant international trade rules and norms."


He said the talks were an opportunity for New Zealand to help shape the international rules in this area to ensure they make it easier for businesses and consumers to take advantage of digital trade opportunities while protecting public and private interests.

"We will ensure that issues of importance to New Zealanders, such as personal privacy, consumer protection, data management, transparency and openness are appropriately protected."

The Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) would, according to a joint statement from the three countries, "establish new international approaches for digital trade issues".

It would also "explore new frontiers in the digital economy, such as digital identities, e-payments, cross-border data flows and artificial intelligence".

The agreement would also help in limiting the spread of violent extremism online.

Parker said the three Governments were also looking into how the agreement might address digital economy issues relating to a safe, secure and free internet.

"Including the issue of eliminating terrorist and violent extremist content online without compromising human rights and fundamental freedoms so important for the fourth estate."

DEPA is not the first time these three countries have worked together on a trade-related agreement.


The three nations were architects of the P4 Agreement, which was the foundation for CPTPP.