CPTPP outcomes: Trade in the digital age

The CPTPP is a landmark agreement on digital trade, setting rules promoting Australian business participation in our region’s digital economy. It includes rules supporting the flow of data, protecting privacy and consumer rights and combating ‘spam’.

Key outcomes

Keeping information moving

The CPTPP delivered important breakthroughs in promoting the free flow of data across borders for service suppliers and investors as part of their business activities. Data flows are important for all kinds of Australian businesses — from a hotel that relies on an international online reservation system, to a telecommunications company providing data management services to businesses across different CPTPP markets.

CPTPP governments have retained the ability to maintain and amend regulations related to data flows, but have undertaken to do so in a way that does not create barriers to trade. Australia’s open and robust regulatory framework, including the Privacy Act and e-health record system (Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record Act 2012), are not affected by the CPTPP commitments.

Addressing data localisation barriers

CPTPP countries have committed not to impose ‘localisation requirements’ that would force businesses to build data storage centres or use local computing facilities in CPTPP markets, providing certainty to businesses considering their investment choices.

Spotlight on cloud computing services

‘Cloud computing’ refers to a wide range of information-intensive services that can be delivered over the internet. A commitment by CPTPP countries not to impede companies delivering cloud computing and data storage services increases Australia’s ability to competitively deliver services into important and expanding CPTPP markets including Japan, Singapore and Vietnam.

Software: new opportunities and greater certainty for exporters

Australian software and games will enjoy fair and equal treatment across CPTPP markets, providing new opportunities for Australian exporters of these products. In addition, Australian software suppliers will not be required to hand over valuable source code when seeking to import or distribute software in a CPTPP country. These commitments promote confidence for software developers, including tech start-ups for whom proprietary source code can be the foundation of their business.

No customs duties on electronic content or transmissions

CPTPP countries’ commitment not to impose customs duties on electronically transmitted content will help Australian businesses compete in these countries.

Recognising the importance of cyber security

To make the most of the commercial opportunities in the online environment, consumers and business require a secure and well-functioning Internet. CPTPP countries recognise the importance of cooperation on cyber security through the work of national computer emergency response teams.

Enhancing consumer protection, protecting privacy and tackling ‘spam’

Consumers must have confidence that their personal information will be protected in online services and transactions. Consumers in CPTPP countries will benefit from commitments to protect privacy, enforce consumer protections and combat ‘spam’ messages.

Staying ahead of future challenges

Given the rapid evolution of the e-commerce and telecommunications sectors, CPTPP countries agreed on the need for cooperation, including on: assisting Small and Medium Enterprises to overcome obstacles in the use of e-commerce; sharing information and experiences on e-commerce regulations and policies; and encouraging the private sector to develop self-regulation that fosters e-commerce.

Fact sheet last update: January 2019


Last Updated: 4 February 2019