19 Sep 2017

DIGITALEUROPE contribution to EP Report on Digital Trade

DIGITALEUROPE contribution to EP Report on Digital Trade


DIGITALEUROPE congratulates the Rapporteur – Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake – on the main principles presented in her Working Document ‘A Digital Trade Strategy for the European Union’.

While our continent is going through a digital transformation, the European Institutions made digital a top priority for Europe. A complementary strategy to the Digital Single Market on the global front is now critically needed.

As the leader in trade in services, the European Union must take leadership and set up the digital ‘standard’ in its free trade agreements (FTAs) before others do. America is negotiating a new NAFTA deal and the AsiaPacific (minus the US) is expected to move along with the TPP. Digital trade is on the agenda of both trade agreements, while the EU is dragging feet, despite being in negotiations for trade deals with those same countries, bilaterally or plurilaterally. Discussions at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on the matter have started to follow up on the success of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), an historic tariff-busting agreement which has significantly contributed to the digital transformation of our society and our industries. An EU digital trade strategy should build on that, and strongly stress that as a matter of priority the EU will safeguard the correct implementation of the trade commitments in the area of ICT of its trading partners – for instance, an appropriate implementation of the ITA agreement. The EU needs to urgently adopt a position on a digital trade strategy that promotes the growth of digital technology goods and services, cloud computing, telecoms and e-commerce, including ensuring that the digital ecosystem and the data flows through it remain open to innovation, new services and commerce globally.

The EU has to build support for a digital global economy and remove unjustified barriers. Protectionism is on the rise, affecting European Industry. European exporters reported a 10% increase in the number of trade barriers they encountered in 2016 alone. G20 countries are maintaining the highest number of trade barriers with Russia, Brazil, China and India on top of the list.

DIGITALEUROPE would like to present some views to help the European Institutions achieve these objectives at the WTO, in bilateral and plurilateral FTAs, and at the G7 and G20 level.

Back to Digital trade
View the complete Policy Paper
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