Global coalition of industry associations call for breakthrough on data flows at the WTO

26 January 2021

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) joins global coalition of industry associations to advance WTO framework on data flows.

ICC is pleased to join the release today of the Joint Industry Statement on Cross-Border Data Transfers and Data Localization Disciplines in the WTO Negotiations on E-Commerce, which encourages WTO negotiators to agree on a framework to facilitate the seamless and secure movement of information across borders.

“COVID-19 has underscored the indispensable role of e-commerce in our lives, and we commend the participating WTO Members for the progress made to date,” said ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO. “We cannot rest on our laurels, however. Achieving clear rules on cross-border data flows will be critical to the success of this initiative, and we hope that our broad-based global coalition of signatories will focus the minds of negotiators on this issue.”

“Data flows are at the heart of today’s global economy. They support economic opportunity in every country and across every sector,” said Victoria Espinel, President and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance. “In today’s remote environment, our jobs, health, education, and well-being depend on digital connectivity and data flows like never before. It should be a top priority for governments to negotiate WTO commitments that support the seamless and secure cross-border movement of information.”

The joint industry statement, co-led by the International Chamber of Commerce and BSA, reflects unified support from 78 associations active across six continents. The signatories call on the 86 WTO members engaged in ongoing e-commerce negotiations to agree on rules on data flows that:

  • Prohibit unnecessary or discriminatory data localisation mandates and data transfer restrictions;
  • Apply across all economic sectors;
  • Reflect principles of transparency and interoperability among legal frameworks; and
  • Require all countries to adopt or maintain legal frameworks to protect personal information.

The full text is available here.

For further information on ICC’s engagement with the plurilateral e-commerce negotiations at the WTO, read ICC’s memo A high standard outcome to power the post-COVID economy.

2021-02-28T15:46:52+02:00