Data Flows In Trade Agreements

In order to build confidence in the management of data flows in international trade, a number of organizations must play a role at the sectoral, national, regional and international levels. This could mean that data protection authorities cooperate, trade agreements that set mutual expectations, or international bodies that set standards. But beyond a few initiatives, no one yet knows what roles they should play and which countries will participate. We are studying data flow management options in international trade, as discussed at the World Trade Organization Public Forum in 2019, as the opportunities offered by digital technologies increase, governments and regulators need to determine how they can benefit from digitization while preserving the integrity of their national rules. In this context, data offshoring measures have increased significantly around the world. It is essential that the EU adopts a trade negotiating position that reflects these principles. Many roundtables addressed the cross-cutting theme of data flows, particularly when issues related to trade in services, technology and other issues arose. We have thought about this in our research projects and we have recently summarized what is affecting the flow of international data trade. Trade rules are important to facilitate digital trade and curb public regulations that may limit digital trade opportunities. The World Trade Organization (WTO) was negotiated in the late 1980s and early 1990s, before the internet flourished. Nevertheless, WTO rules are relevant to digital trade. The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is of particular importance, given the increased room for trade in services.

While WTO members have committed to providing a service, they must also allow data to flow across borders where it is necessary for service delivery. Therefore, “data location” measures that increase the burden on foreign suppliers. B could be inconsistent with the national treatment obligation of the GATS, for example by requesting a local presence. A WTO member might attempt to justify a measure of location of the data under the Section XIV GATS waiver, as this is necessary to obtain a listed list of exceptions in the public service. International trade requires the exchange of data between countries, but this raises concerns about privacy, data flow governance and trust. These and other issues were discussed at the last World Trade Organization public forum in 2019. Data protection and trade policy most often begins at the national level, and when we look at trade, we need to look at domestic regulation and the impact it has on trade facilitation. Data protection concepts vary from country to country; and as the European Centre for International Political Economy has shown, national data restrictions can hinder cross-border trade in services.

restrictions on cross-border flows include provisions that require data produced in a jurisdiction to be retained and analysed; or that, if the data is to go elsewhere, it can only do so if the receiving jurisdiction meets a certain standard. Measures that should limit the flow of data and locate local data are implemented for a number of reasons. One of the reasons cited by data protection authorities is the prevention of data flows in jurisdictions where the level of data protection is lower, when this violates the protection of privacy in the country. For example, the European Union`s General Data Protection Regulation, which came into force in May 2018, prohibits companies collecting personal data in the EU from transmitting their data to the European Union


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