13 Jul 2015

DIGITALEUROPE recommendations - 10 principles for Digital Trade

DIGITALEUROPE recommendations

10 principles for Digital Trade

The European Union (EU) should strengthen its cooperation on Digital Trade with key trading partners, work at multilateral and at bilateral levels to reduce both tariffs and non-tariff barriers, look at innovative solutions to ease the access of products to the market (e.g. e-labelling, Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity) and promote global and market-led recognised standards.

  • 1.

    CREATING A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD

    The European Union (EU) should strengthen its cooperation on Digital Trade with key trading partners, work at multilateral, plurilateral and bilateral levels to reduce both tariffs and non-tariff barriers, look at innovative solutions to ease the access of products to the market (e.g. e-labelling, Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity) and promote global and market-led recognised standards.

  • 2.

    DELIVERING INTERNATIONAL VISION

    The EU should continue focusing resources on multi – -and plurilateral agreements such as the expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), the Trade Facilitation Agreement. The ultimate aim of any plurilateral agreement should remain extending such agreements to all World Trade Organisation (WTO) members. We also encourage the relaunch of the WTO eCommerce Work Programme as a forum to address Digital issues at the multilateral level. Furthermore, sectors at the WTO should all be treated equally: there should be no sequencing when discussing services, goods, agriculture.

  • 3.

    SECURING GLOBAL MARKET ACCESS

    WTO members took an important step this Spring 2015 with the WTO Workshop addressing digital technology Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs). We encourage the EU and other WTO members to keep the momentum and work on a comprehensive work programme with ambitious but realistic objectives and timeline. In addition, we encourage the European Commission to continue raising technical barriers to trade for IT goods and services in the DG Trade Market Access Working Group on Electronics and ICT products.

  • 4.

    SUPPORTING THE GLOBAL DIGITAL ECONOMY

    Ongoing bilateral trade negotiations should include commitments that promote 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 and commerce globally.

  • 5.

    FOSTERING INNOVATION

    The European Commission should consider setting up new cooperation mechanisms in plurilateral and bilateral agreements to support joint collaboration in R&D, exchange of best practices to foster innovation, and create new ecosystems (e.g. smart cities).

  • 6.

    ENABLING CROSS-BORDER DATA FLOWS

    In respect with privacy rules, data should flow freely across borders while respecting privacy rules in accordance with Art 14 of the GATS. Both plurilateral and bilateral trade agreements should recognise and promote the free nature of cross border data flows, and oppose forced data localisation.

  • 7.

    PREVENTING AND ADDRESSING LOCALISATION BARRIERS

    Any exception to the free flow of data and/or any measure related to the localisation of activities in-country should be carefully examined in regards to the general exemptions of GATS Article XIV. Such kind of measure has a strong impact on both local and global industry which relies on international value chains, as well as on the GDP growth of the country adopting it. Ongoing trade negotiations are an opportunity to develop trade and investment disciplines on performance requirements.

  • 8.

    RESISTING PROTECTIONISM

    The EU should continue to resist protectionism and to take a leadership role at the European and global level, at the WTO and OECD Ministerial Conferences, to fully harness the potential of digital trade for transforming all sectors of economies. The EU should elevate the elimination of forced localisation related measures as a European and global economic priority. We also invite EU leaders to acknowledge the principles developed in the Tokyo resolution on Combatting Data Localisation Requirementsagreed and signed by European, American and Japanese ICT digital technology Industry Associations.

  • 9.

    PROMOTING GLOBAL COOPERATION ON RAW MATERIALS

    In order to achieve the objective of the proposal for a regulation setting up a Union system for supply chain due diligence self-certification of responsible importers of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold originating from conflict affected and high-risk areas, and
    a greater level of transparency throughout the minerals supply chain, involvement of all actors from all levels and across all sectors is required. EU should continue taking an active role in the raw materials diplomacy and engage with regions where many smelters and refiners are located.

  • 10.

    SCALING UP EUROPEAN STRATEGIES

    Good Trade Policy starts at home with good domestic policies. The EU has rightly put digital at the top of its policy agenda to reignite European growth. Digital trade should leverage the European Digital Single Market (DSM) to enable local businesses to go global by ensuring coherence between its internal and external actions – for instance ensuring the DSM “free flow of data initiative” is global in outlook – , and by creating a pro-competitive and pro-business environment in Europe, notably via good delegated acts for the new Union Customs Code.

For more information please contact
Sarah Wagner
Senior Policy Manager for Digital Trade
Back to Digital trade
View the complete Policy Paper
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