Digital Trade Principles: Relevance
- GS 2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
Digital Trade Principles: Context
- Recently the G7 countries—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States—agreed on Digital Trade Principles to govern cross-border data use and digital trade.
Digital Trade Principles: Key points
Open digital markets
- The G7 Trade Ministers agreed that digital and telecommunications markets should be competitive, transparent, fair, and accessible to international trade and investment.
- Digital trade should be used to support jobs, raise living standards, and respond to the needs of workers, innovators, and consumers.
- Digital trade should support entrepreneurialism notably women entrepreneurs and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
Data free flow with trust
- Data should be able to flow freely across borders with trust, including the trust of individuals and businesses to harness the opportunity of digital trade.
- Data localisation requirements should not be used for protectionist and discriminatory purposes.
- Personal data must be protected by high enforceable standards, including when it is transferred across borders.
- Open government data can play an important role in digital trade. Where appropriate, public-sector datasets should be published in anonymised, open, interoperable, and accessible forms.
Safeguards for workers, consumers, and businesses
- Labour protections must be in place for workers who are directly engaged in or support digital trade, providing decent conditions of work.
- Effective measures must be in place to ensure a high level of consumer protection when purchasing goods and services online.
- Businesses must have a secure digital trading environment, with the highest standards of cybersecurity and resilience against illicit or malign activity.
- Businesses should not be required or coerced to transfer technology or provide access to source code or encryption keys as a condition of market access.
Digital trading systems
- To cut red tape and enable more businesses to trade, governments and industry should drive forward the digitisation of trade-related documents.
- Single trade windows should be developed to streamline stakeholder interactions with border agencies.
Fair and inclusive global governance
- Common rules for digital trade should be agreed and upheld at the World Trade Organization. These rules should benefit workers, consumers, and businesses in developing economies, as well as those in developed economies.
- Efforts should be intensified to tackle the digital divides between and within countries to promote inclusive growth.
- International standards for information and communication technologies should be developed in a way that complies with the six principles of the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Committee, namely
- impartiality and consensus,
- effectiveness and relevance,
- coherence, and
- the development dimension.