During a meeting between the Group of Seven wealthy nations (G7) on Friday, a consensus was reached on a set of principles to govern cross-border data use and digital trade. The deal is considered to be a breakthrough as it could free up hundreds of billions of dollars of international commerce.

"The deal sets out a middle ground between highly regulated data protection regimes used in European countries and the more open approach of the United States," according to Hellenic Shipping News.

If documents are processed digitally between two countries in the G7, the time that it takes to complete a cross-border deal could speed up by 81%, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) said.

"Currently, international trade relies on billions of paper documents and antiquated laws which date back to the 16th century," the ICC said. "An ordinary trade transaction involves up to 27 documents, can take three months and can cost businesses up to £80,000 – creating an administrative nightmare and keeping costs unsustainably high for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises)."

When different countries have different rules governing the use of customer data, it can create a complicated and costly compliance process, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. The deal is a first step in reducing barriers and moving toward a universal rulebook for digital trade.

"We oppose digital protectionism and authoritarianism and today we have adopted the G7 Digital Trade Principles that will guide the G7's approach to digital trade," the communique published by Britain says.