US/UK FTA negotiations expanded to include blockchain

on Mar 11, 2020
  • The UK has recently published what it plans to achieve in a post-Brexit Free Trade Agreement with the US.
  • The country listed what it has to offer, but also what it aims to achieve, and surprisingly, it also listed blockchain and other emerging technologies.
  • While the country's listing of goals before the negotiations have even started does show its appreciation of blockchain technology, it gives no guarantee of what the final agreement may look like.

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The UK’s Department for International Trade recently revealed the goals it wishes to achieve in negotiations of an FTA (Free Trade Agreement) with the US. The document is quite wide-reaching, but one interesting detail is that the UK authorities demand that blockchain is included as one area in which the country and its businesses will benefit.

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The document explains the UK government’s stance in post-Brexit FTA negotiation with the US. It reviews the key objectives that the UK has for such an agreement, and it also marked some institutions and other aspects as non-negotiable and protected from the agreement.

One example of this is Britain’s NHS (National Health Service), as well as drug prices, protections of worker rights, animal welfare, food standards, environmental protection, and alike.

The UK wishes to ensure the inclusion of blockchain in FTA

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However, when it comes to the blockchain industry, the most interesting part is the proposal of a chapter that covers small and medium-sized businesses. The dedicated chapter requests a digital trade chapter with cutting-edge provisions that would increase opportunities for digital trade in all sectors of the economy.

Making the Agreement while securing these provisions will benefit the country’s business in the digital sector, especially when it comes to the blockchain industry. The document continues to say that in areas such as blockchain, data flow, self-driving cars, as well as quantum technology, the UK has the opportunity to help shape global rules via ambitious digital trade provisions.

Of course, the official negotiations have yet to start, and setting out the position beforehand gives no guarantee that the final agreement will be shaped like this. Especially since the US’ position on many of the elements may be completely opposite. In other words, there is no way to predict what the final agreement may look like, provided that one is reached, at all.

But, it is clear that the UK government sees potential and great value in the blockchain industry, and that it is prepared to fight to secure its rights to participation.

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