[bestbits] [governance] WTO Needs Far-Reaching Digital Trade Pact, Experts Say

Carolina Rossini carolina.rossini at gmail.com
Mon Jan 25 06:12:07 EST 2016

or...maybe US would...not that we have TPP and TTIP and TISA are coming ...
the block negotiation would prevail - even on a one-to-one vote system such
as WTO

On Mon, Jan 25, 2016 at 6:11 AM, Carolina Rossini <
carolina.rossini at gmail.com> wrote:

> and if WTO likes the call, they might take it on, since they need to
> re-gain relevance
> but I doubt US would allow it
> On Mon, Jan 25, 2016 at 5:59 AM, Nick Ashton-Hart <nashton at consensus.pro>
> wrote:
>> Dear Ephraim,
>> I am glad that this has been noticed. As I have followed trade policy in
>> Geneva actively for several years, I would add a few additional bits of
>> information - and a call to action that I hope at least some of you might
>> take up:
>>    1. There has been an agenda on digital trade at the WTO since 1998,
>>    known as the Electronic Commerce Work Programme. More information is
>>    here
>>    <https://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/minist_e/mc10_e/briefing_notes_e/brief_ecommerce_e.htm>
>>    and the resolution adopted on the subject at the Nairobi Ministerial can be found
>>    here <https://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/minist_e/mc10_e/l977_e.htm>
>>    .
>>    2. There will certainly be more discussion of ICTs in a trade context
>>    over the next two years at the WTO, though not in a formal negotiating
>>    sense outside of pluryilateral negotiations like the Trade in Services
>>    Agreement (TiSA) talks. There are also really good processes on digital
>>    trade at UNCTAD and developing countries participate in these very actively
>>    and the UNCTAD secretariat who work on this area are, in my experience,
>>    amongst the best and the brightest I have seen working in any part of the
>>    international civil service. You can find the homepage of their work
>>    here <http://unctad.org/en/Pages/DTL/STI_and_ICTs/ICT4D.aspx>.
>>    3. As the digital economy becomes more important we will see more and
>>    more attention paid to it by trade negotiators. I think the question that
>>    you want to ask yourselves from a civil society perspective is: how can you
>>    create the relationships with negotiators and their ministries so that you
>>    are a part of the inside of your national trade policy development
>>    processes, and secondarily, for those who want to work at the international
>>    level, how can the public interest inform the work in Geneva?
>> Right now there is very little engagement in Geneva on digital trade,
>> excepting visits by (almost exclusively Western) industry representatives
>> for a few days at a time, and then mostly just to tell negotiators what
>> they want, rather than to help them understand what their policy options
>> are. Civil society engagement with trade negotiators is some areas is very
>> robust here (agriculture, intellectual property) but in digital trade is
>> basically zero.
>> I think that’s a great shame. Geneva is the world’s capital of trade
>> policy and therefore there’s a unique opportunity to educate policymakers
>> about the policy options that they have since they come here regularly. The
>> foundation of how trade policy views the Internet is still being laid.
>> There are many trade negotiators who genuinely want to understand it better
>> and how their countries can use technology for economic benefit not just
>> for big companies but primarily for small and medium sized enterprises.  I
>> have spent much of the last few years trying to help them. I hope someone -
>> and ideally several someones - will take that effort forward since I
>> probably won’t be continuing with it myself.
>> Unfortunately, the narrative that negotiators hear about the digital
>> economy relates primarily to developed countries. That’s a problem because
>> the Internet has profound potential for development if wise policies are
>> adopted - I suspect we all agree about that - and at the moment far too
>> many developing country trade officials believe that the Internet is only
>> for the West, and the North, and that there’s little in it for the South. I
>> don’t know about you, but I believe the Internet is for everyone and can
>> benefit everyone, in trade as in so much else.
>> If you are interested, I was a part of a policy advisory process on
>> digital trade co-hosted by WEF and ICTSD. The report of that group was just
>> issued, and I suspect all of you will find it interesting even if you may
>> or may not agree with all the conclusions. You can find it here.
>> I think we all agree that trade policy - like all else - needs a strong
>> voice for the public interest that is trusted by negotiators and relied
>> upon by them. That will only happen if the public interest community
>> invests the time and energy now to create those relationships in Geneva and
>> in national capitals. Those relationships will be most effective, in my
>> view, if the public interest does more than tell negotiators what it don’t
>> want. It should also explain the positive potential for economic and social
>> development that the Internet represents, whether you believe trade
>> agreements should have Internet provisions or not.
>> ---
>> Regards,
>> Nick Ashton-Hart
>> Landline: +41 22 534 99 45
>> Mobile: +41 79 595 5468
>> Silent Phone/USA DID: nashton / +1 971-544-8395
>> email: nashton at consensus.pro
>> FaceTime/iMessage: nashtonhart at mac.com
>> Jabber: nashton at jit.si
>> PGP: 6995293D
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>> Skype: nashtonhart
>> Twitter: @nashtonhart
>> <https://twitter.com/nashtonhart>[image: View Nick Ashton-Hart's profile
>> on LinkedIn] <https://ch.linkedin.com/pub/nick-ashton-hart/0/106/72>
>> *Click here <http://evaunt.me/vEbDF/NickAshton-Hart1> to put all my
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>> “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the
>> imagination and life to everything.” - Plato
>> On 25 Jan 2016, at 11:22, Ephraim Percy Kenyanito <ephraim at accessnow.org>
>> wrote:
>> During WTO Ministerial meeting in December 2015 in Nairobi, developed
>> countries wanted to introduce a new item (emerging trade and ICTs) but
>> developing countries opposed this move as they wanted a conclusion of the
>> Doha Round of negotiations. So its very probable that this will happen in
>> the near future.
>> Given WTO Agreements are binding, we need to make sure that in case it
>> happens, such discussions are carried out in the open with participation
>> from all stakeholders. We need to be in the table/ on delegations.
>> We wouldn't want a reflection of the process of coming up with the TPP
>> --
>> Best Regards,
>> *Ephraim Percy Kenyanito*
>> Sub-Saharan Africa Policy Analyst
>> Access Now | accessnow.org
>> tel: (+254)-786-191-930/ (+254)-751-804-120
>> @ekenyanito
>> PGP: E6BA8DC1
>> Fingerprint: B0FA394AF73DEB7AA1FDC7360CFED26DE6BA8DC1
>> *Subscribe *to the Access Now Express
>> <https://www.accessnow.org/campaign/#sign-up>, our weekly newsletter on
>> digital rights
>> *Sign up* for our action alerts <https://www.accessnow.org/campaign/>
>> On 25 January 2016 at 12:28, Carolina Rossini <carolina.rossini at gmail.com
>> > wrote:
>>> here the WEF paper -
>>> http://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/10/why-global-trade-laws-need-to-catch-up-with-digital-commerce
>>> and here a paper I like mapping what has happened over the years
>>> regarding international regulation of e-commerce and related ICT stuff
>>> http://old.wti.org/fileadmin/user_upload/nccr-trade.ch/wp3/3.8/wunsch_hold_WP_final_11-07-08.pdf
>>> On Mon, Jan 25, 2016 at 4:09 AM, Carolina Rossini <
>>> carolina.rossini at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> http://www.law360.com/internationaltrade/articles/749648/wto-needs-far-reaching-digital-trade-pact-experts-say
>>>> WTO Needs Far-Reaching Digital Trade Pact, Experts Say
>>>> Share us on:
>>>> <http://twitter.com/share?text=WTO%20Needs%20Far-Reaching%20Digital%20Trade%20Pact,%20Experts%20Say&url=http://www.law360.com/internationaltrade/articles/749648>
>>>> <http://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=http://www.law360.com/internationaltrade/articles/749648>
>>>> <http://www.linkedin.com/shareArticle?mini=true&url=http://www.law360.com/internationaltrade/articles/749648&summary=Policymakers+around+the+globe+should+begin+thinking+about+negotiations+for+an+expansive+World+Trade+Organization+agreement+devoted+solely+to+digital+trade%2C+e-commerce+and+telecommunications+issues%2C%26nbsp%3Baccording+to+an+expert+paper+circulated+at+the+World+Economic+Forum+Friday.&title=WTO+Needs+Far-Reaching+Digital+Trade+Pact%2C+Experts+Say&source=Law360>
>>>> <http://www.law360.com/articles/749648/share?section=internationaltrade>
>>>> By *Alex Lawson*
>>>> Law360, New York (January 22, 2016, 3:03 PM ET) -- Policymakers around
>>>> the globe should begin thinking about negotiations for an expansive World
>>>> Trade Organization agreement devoted solely to digital trade, e-commerce
>>>> and telecommunications issues, according to an expert paper circulated at
>>>> the World Economic Forum Friday.
>>>> While acknowledging the progress made on digital trade in recent
>>>> regional trade deals, the paper — prepared jointly by the WEF and the the
>>>> International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development — said the time
>>>> has come for an agreement that tackles those issues head-on at the World
>>>> Trade Organization.
>>>> “There is a need to develop greater consensus or a critical mass around
>>>> core concepts regarding cross-border data flows,” the paper said. “Rules
>>>> and principles to support and expand digital trade are being inserted in
>>>> some trade agreements. This is a positive step that should be discussed and
>>>> expanded to more jurisdictions.”
>>>> The authors specifically cited the recently concluded Trans-Pacific
>>>> Partnership and the still-underway Transatlantic Trade and Investment
>>>> Partnership as examples of significant trade deals tackling e-commerce,
>>>> which they said should be used as a springboard for similar work on a
>>>> broader platform.
>>>> “This work provides a basis for developing a specific agreement on
>>>> digital trade that should be negotiated at the WTO on a plurilateral basis
>>>> — open to those interested in joining, with consideration given to applying
>>>> any such agreement on a [most-favored-nation] basis to all WTO members,”
>>>> the paper said.
>>>> On an overarching policy level, the paper argued that a new agreement
>>>> should allow for the unconstrained flow of data across borders between
>>>> willing partners, and that the only exception should be one that is
>>>> narrowly tailored and based on national security considerations.
>>>> Furthermore, the experts said there ought to be wide-ranging rules
>>>> barring countries from requiring data to be stored only on local servers as
>>>> a condition for market entry. This concept is enshrined within the TPP, but
>>>> that agreement has also drawn fire
>>>> <http://www.law360.com/articles/746082/obama-issues-formal-tpp-call-as-gop-clashes-loom> for
>>>> leaving the financial services sector on the outside of those protections.
>>>> Even before launching new WTO talks on digital trade, the paper
>>>> recommended updating certain existing WTO pacts to better accommodate 21st
>>>> century traders, beginning with the Trade Facilitation Agreement.
>>>> The TFA — which was completed in 2013 and has been ratified by 68 WTO
>>>> members — aims to streamline the flow of goods across borders around the
>>>> globe, but could be modernized by installing a unified de minimis customs
>>>> level under which no duties will applied, according to the experts’
>>>> recommendations.
>>>> “For trade in lower value goods that the Internet is enabling, such
>>>> costs account for a relatively larger share of the total value, making it
>>>> an even more serious trade barrier,” the paper said.
>>>> More broadly, the World Economic Forum and International Centre for
>>>> Trade and Sustainable Development experts said that throughout these
>>>> processes, there should be a robust dialogue between governments, the
>>>> private sector and advocacy groups that often pushed back against digital
>>>> trade liberalization because of privacy concerns.
>>>> “Ensuring security of the network is one of the key issues that affects
>>>> consumer and business confidence in addition to the direct costs that
>>>> security breaches have on individual businesses,” they said.
>>>> --Editing by Bruce Goldman.
>>>> --
>>>> *Carolina Rossini *
>>>> *Vice President, International Policy*
>>>> *Public Knowledge*
>>>> *http://www.publicknowledge.org/ <http://www.publicknowledge.org/>*
>>>> + 1 6176979389 | skype: carolrossini | @carolinarossini
>>> --
>>> *Carolina Rossini *
>>> *Vice President, International Policy*
>>> *Public Knowledge*
>>> *http://www.publicknowledge.org/ <http://www.publicknowledge.org/>*
>>> + 1 6176979389 | skype: carolrossini | @carolinarossini
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> --
> *Carolina Rossini *
> *Vice President, International Policy*
> *Public Knowledge*
> *http://www.publicknowledge.org/ <http://www.publicknowledge.org/>*
> + 1 6176979389 | skype: carolrossini | @carolinarossini


*Carolina Rossini *
*Vice President, International Policy*
*Public Knowledge*
*http://www.publicknowledge.org/ <http://www.publicknowledge.org/>*
+ 1 6176979389 | skype: carolrossini | @carolinarossini
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