Minister Ng announces Canada’s request to join Digital Economy Partnership Agreement

Global Affairs Canada

Canada is committed to strengthening opportunities for international engagement on digital trade, as well as collaboration on advanced technologies issues.

Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, announced that Canada has submitted a formal request to launch negotiations for Canada’s accession to the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA).

A novel trade policy tool initiated by New Zealand, Chile, and Singapore (the DEPA Parties), DEPA is a flexible arrangement designed to address the fast-evolving digital economy issues of interest to businesses, workers and consumers, such as artificial intelligence and digital identities.

Joining DEPA would further secure Canada’s position as a leader in the global digital economy, and gives it a seat at the table for international rulemaking. This will help Canadian businesses by providing clear rules on digitally enabled trade and promoting new economic opportunities that will benefit everyone.

The agreement is aligned with Canada’s international trade policy objectives, including encouraging e-commerce as a means of facilitating and diversifying international trade and investment.

In March 2021, the Government of Canada launched public consultations on Canada’s possible accession to the DEPA. Industry stakeholders, NGOs, provinces and territories, and traditionally under-represented groups including women, Indigenous peoples and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, provided valuable input, leading to this request.

Following today’s announcement, Canada will engage with the DEPA Parties to establish a Working Group for Canada’s accession to the DEPA.

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