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UK-led international summit opens new horizons for innovation

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Initiatives agreed by 7 countries at today’s Agile Nations conference, led by the UK, range from improving cybersecurity in the Internet of Things – where everyday things are equipped with computing devices to connect them to the web – to greater collaboration on experimental approaches to regulation like the use of “sandboxes” – where revolutionary products are tested under supervision.

Agile Nations – made up of UK, Denmark, Canada, Italy, Japan, Singapore, and United Arab Emirates (United Arab Emirates) – represent 15% of world gross domestic product (GDP). These countries were also joined by Finland, an observer member, which contributes on an ad hoc basis.

Launched in December with the support of the World Economic Forum and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the network’s mission is to make it easier for companies to introduce and deploy innovations in all markets while respecting the protection of citizens and the environment.

Business Minister Lord Callanan said:

Unlocking innovation and entrepreneurship will be key as we seek to rebuild better after the pandemic, and the UK stands ready to work with like-minded countries to make it happen.

The projects agreed today will pave the way for regulators around the world, promising new opportunities on the horizon for our most innovative businesses, helping them to thrive across borders.

As the group’s inaugural chairman, the UK spearheaded today’s event, which saw Business Secretary Lord Callanan and his international counterparts agree on an ambitious agenda of 10 projects, including:

  • to strengthen access to justice, the UK’s Solicitors Regulation Authority will lead a project to help create a global market for legal services
  • UK, Canada and Singapore to work together to address potential cybersecurity issues in the ‘Internet of Things’
  • to meet the challenges of food production in countries facing water scarcity, the United Arab Emirates lead a standards development project for the use of treated wastewater in agriculture

The projects will see agile nations working together to share cutting-edge ideas and evidence, test new solutions and identify new opportunities to nurture innovators and entrepreneurs.

In recent weeks, the UK has also made significant strides nationally to fine-tune regulation and foster a vibrant economy. This includes developing bold strategies and proposals on:

  • artificial intelligence to strengthen its place in the UK economy, to increase investment, support research and development and strengthen the nation’s skills – setting the standards for other countries to follow

  • transport to unleash the UK’s potential as a world leader in future technologies such as autonomous maritime vessels, autonomous cars and drones by modernizing obsolete EU vehicle standards

  • agriculture to reform regulations on genetically modified organisms, which will enable more sustainable and efficient agriculture and help produce healthier and more nutritious food

Notes to Editors

The members of the Agile Nations are:

  • United Kingdom (Chairman – Lord Callanan, Minister for Business, Energy and Corporate Responsibility)
  • Singapore (Low Yen Ling, Minister of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth of Singapore)
  • Canada (Tina Green, Assistant Secretary, Regulatory Affairs, Treasury Board of Canada)
  • Italy (Camilla Sebastiani, Head of Policy, Cabinet of the Minister of Technological Innovation and Digital Transition)
  • Japan (Seitaro Fujita, Deputy Director General for IT Strategy, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan)
  • Denmark (Tatiana Juel, representative of the Danish Business Authority, Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs)
  • United Arab Emirates (Noora BinKalban, Project Manager, Ministry of Cabinet Affairs, Prime Minister’s Office)
  • OECD (Miguel Amaral, Senior Policy Analyst, Public Governance Directorate)


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