G7 Digital Trade Principles

G7 Digital Trade Principles

News: Recently, the Group of Seven (G7) wealthy nations agreed on a joint set of principles to govern cross-border data use and digital trade. The deal is a first step in reducing trade barriers, and could lead to a common rulebook of digital trade.

G7 Digital Trade Principles:
• Digital and telecommunications markets should be competitive, transparent, fair, and accessible to international trade and investment.
• To harness the opportunities of the digital economy and support the trade of goods and services, data should be able to flow freely across borders with trust, including the trust of individuals and businesses.
• Labour protections must be in place for workers who are directly engaged in or support digital trade, providing decent conditions of work.
• To cut red tape and enable more businesses to trade, governments and industry should drive forward the digitisation of trade-related documents.
• Common rules for digital trade should be agreed and upheld at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
• These rules should benefit workers, consumers, and businesses in developing economies, as well as those in developed economies, while safeguarding each country’s right to regulate for legitimate public policy objectives.

Significance:
• The deal sets out a middle ground between highly regulated data protection regimes used in European countries and the more open approach of the United States.
• The deal envisages removing unjustified obstacles to cross-border data flows, while continuing to address privacy, data protection, the protection of intellectual property rights, and security.
• The agreement reached by the elite global group is considered to be significant as it could liberalise hundreds of billions of dollars of digital trade.Enabling cross border data flows and clarifying the framework for processing and storing data will be required to further expand the contribution of digital exports.

Concerns:
• The G7 countries have raised concerns about situations where data localisation requirements are being used for protectionist and discriminatory purposes.The statement assumes significance as India has been contemplating measures for data localisation.
• Recently, India has scored 90.32% in UNESCAP Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation.
• In 2018, the economic value of digital trade-enabled benefits to the Indian economy is estimated to be worth up to USD 35 billion.  

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