Chile is joining New Zealand and Singapore in a new international trade grouping known as the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement, or DEPA.
The DEPA looks similar to the World Trade Organization (WTO), but will exclusively focus on digital trade, helping member states to deal with a range of issues, from cybercrime to data storage and internet infrastructure.
Canada, which is also seeking to join the grouping, says the agreement is designed to encourage international trade on e-commerce platforms, adding that the broader goal is to bring countries together to deal with digital economy’s issues such as digital identities, digital inclusion, and artificial intelligence (AI).
The DEPA officially came into existence on January 7, 2021. However, none of its signatories have ratified the agreement yet. Singapore and New Zealand claim to have completed their internal procedures for ratification, but Chile is still buying time to complete the ratification process.
Analysts say an international organization of this kind was in need of the hour, pointing to the increased adoption of digital technologies by both small and large businesses around the world.
Moreover, the existing free trade treaties are not comprehensive enough to deal with disputes over digital trade.
“For issues related to e-commerce, e-invoicing, and data location, it is critical to find common ground and common rules, and the DEPA aims to achieve that,” reported Voice of America, quoting Boston University professor Jorge Heine.