US global digital firms' wish list for trade agreements

October 5, 2017: The U.S. International Trade Commission has identified ‘market opportunities’ and barriers to global digital trade in a recent report. Based on input from the US digital industry, the report argues that many  government regulatory and policy measures are obstacles to competitive digital trade. It argues that international trade rules should ensure that government regulation of data localisation, cybersecurity, intellectual property, data protection and censorship do not prevent free global data flows.

Similar proposals to prevent data localisation and cybersecurity have been raised in the RCEP negotiations and will be debated at the WTO Ministerial meeting in December,  They could prevent governments from having effective national regulation of data privacy and data security.

They also have implications for the economic development and sovereignty of countries such as India, which want to avoid total dependence on global digital corporations like Apple, Microsoft and Google and have a regulatory framework to enable development of their small and medium sized digital companies. See attached summary of these issues from Parminder, Jeet Singh, an expert on development and the digital economy.

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