In our webinar on ‘International Trade Law: Implications for Data Governance’, we discussed emerging issues in digital trade and data governance, and their interaction with the multilateral and regional trade regimes. To discuss this, Nehaa Chaudhari and Aman Taneja of Ikigai Law were in conversation with Neha Mishra, a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore.
The discussion can be found here.
To start with, Neha Mishra gave us an overview of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreements and its interaction with digital trade. The conversation then steered towards data localisation measures, its legality within the WTO framework and its justification as a national security exception under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). The discussion also broached a range of other issues, including the regulation of cross-border data flow and data privacy in regional trade agreements, the future of digital trade regulation and WTO’s role in promoting good internet governance.
Key issues discussed:
- Overview of the WTO framework and its interaction with digital trade (2:20)
- Interaction between free trade agreements (FTAs) and digital trade (11:23)
- Legality of data localization measures within the WTO framework (13:29)
- Justifying data localization measures under the ‘weighing and balancing’ test under GATS (23:22)
- Economic impact of data localization measures and why countries chose to adopt them (28:17)
- Data localization norms as a security exception under GATS (35:42)
- The politics of cross-border data flow in FTAs (49:30)
- A threat to critical infrastructure as a security exception under GATS (56:50)
- Adoption of measures in accordance with the U.N. Charter as an exception (59:42)
- Segregated regulation of data as personal data and non-personal data (1:03:41)
- Implication of digital trade in FTAs on non-participating Members (1:06:24)
- The future path to digital trade regulation (1:07:40)
- WTO’s role in developing good internet governance (1:09:00)
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