- Posted by Dr. Marina Foltea
- On October 15, 2020
- competition, data regulation, e-commerce, FTAs, innovation, WTO
Our expert Bryan Mercurio spoke in a panel organised for the Geneva Trade Week which took place on 28 September – 2 October 2020. He focused on developing policies facilitating digital transformation.
The key take away from the presentation is that the policy objectives in the regulation of data have similar objectives at the domestic or supranational level, that is allowing the digital transformation to take place while minimising negative externalities. Bryan expressed some doubt to Geneva based negotiations on e-commerce since many countries have not even developed their own domestic framework and therefore are hesitant to sign up for negotiations in Geneva or elsewhere. Bryan further noted the ‘one size fits all’ approach to digital trade negotiations are not the way to go when it comes to data regulation and that domestic regulations at times do not properly consider the impact on international trade and investments.
An interesting example is Massachusetts where following a proposed ban of face recognition technology the relevant firms have moved elsewhere. Another limitation on cross-border data trade – which increasingly takes the form of digital and e-commerce chapters in FTAs – is widely drafted exceptions from the secured free movement of data, which depending on how they are used and interpreted have the potential to severely curtail expected benefits. When it comes for filling regulatory gaps in this field the ‘time to regulate was yesterday’, says Bryan.
The video of Bryan’s presentation is available here.