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The Importance of Cross-Border Regulatory Cooperation in an Era of Digital Trade

  • USMAN AHMED (a1)

Abstract

Technology is transforming global trade. The global trading system, however, has struggled to keep up with changes in technology. One of the major challenges for the trading system is that the issues raised by digitally enabled commerce are largely regulatory in nature. The issues that are at the forefront of digital trade increasingly relate to citizens’ most fundamental interactions, including speech, finance, energy, and transportation. This paper argues that resolving these international regulatory issues will require reforming the approach that has been taken to global trade negotiations. International discussions around the most challenging issues in the digital economy ought to move away from the ‘horse-trading’ nature of traditional trade negotiations and towards a strategy focused on regulatory cooperation. Failure to achieve regulatory cooperation could further fragment digital services based upon national borders. The Internet has the potential to positively impact the global economy precisely because it is global, decentralized, and bottom-up in nature. International policymaking through regulatory cooperation can maintain those principles, while protecting fundamental national concerns such as stability, privacy, and security.

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This piece is dedicated to the late Joe Alhadeff who was a role model and spent his life working across borders, sectors, and divides to drive towards universally beneficial solutions.

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References

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22 World Economic Forum, ‘Digital Transformation of Industries: Demystifying Digital and Securing $100 Trillion for Society and Industry by 2025’ (January 2016), 11, http://reports.weforum.org/digital-transformation/wp-content/blogs.dir/94/mp/files/pages/files/wef1601-digitaltransformation-1401.pdf (describing the potential for digital to transform the healthcare sector); OECD, ‘Cross Border Higher Education for Development’ (2006), 72, www.oecd.org/education/research/37477437.pdf (discussing the potential for the Internet's ability to enable cross-border tertiary education).

23 H. Kox and H. Kyvik Nordàs, ‘Services Trade and Domestic Regulation’, MPRA Paper No. 2116 (14 February 2007), https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/2116/1/MPRA_paper_2116.pdf (describing how professional services typically required an in-person interaction with a trusted expert).

24 L. Branstetter, ‘TPP and Digital Trade in Assessing the Trans Pacific Partnership’, PIIE Briefing 16-4, Peterson Institute for International Economics (March 2016), https://piie.com/system/files/documents/piieb16-4.pdf.

25 International Trade Administration, ‘Exporting is Good for Your Bottom Line’, www.trade.gov/cs/factsheet.asp.

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29 PayPal, Democratizing Globalization (2017), https://publicpolicy.paypal-corp.com/sites/default/files/policy/PayPal-Policy-Paper_Democratizing-Globalization.pdf (small businesses are defined as those selling between $30,000 and $3 million from 2015–2016; the sample dataset of 30,000 was compared against a larger dataset of 100,000 small businesses for robustness).

30 Price Waterhouse Coopers, ‘Industry 4.0: Building the Digital Enterprise’ (2016), 11, www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/industries-4.0/landing-page/industry-4.0-building-your-digital-enterprise-april-2016.pdf.

31 See e.g. M. Murgia and M. Arnold, ‘Bank of Tech Poses Growing Threat to Traditional Institutions’, Financial Times (14 February 2017), www.ft.com/content/1a862cd2-efd3-11e6-ba01-119a44939bb6.

32 S. Case, The Third Wave, New York: Simon & Schuster (2016).

34 See J. Zittrain, ‘Be Careful What You Ask For: Reconciling a Global Internet and Local Law’, Research Publication No. 2003-0, https://cyber.harvard.edu/wg_home/uploads/204/2003-03.pdf; Hestermeyer, H. P., ‘Personal Jurisdiction for Internet Torts: Towards an International Solution’, 26 Northwestern Journal of International Law and Business (2006), 267; Michael Geist, ‘Is There a There? Toward Greater Certainty for Internet Jurisdiction’ (2001), https://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1331&context=btlj.

35 See Gao., H.Can WTO Law Keep Up with the Internet?’, 108 Proceedings of the ASIL Annual Meeting, American Society of International Law (2014), 350352, https://doi.org/10.5305/procannmeetasil.108.0350; Knapp, K., ‘Internet Filtering: The Ineffectiveness of WTO Remedies and the Availability of Alternative Tort Remedies’, 28 John Marshall Journal of Computer and Information Law (2010), 273, https://repository.jmls.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&https://redir=1&article=1689&context=jitpl; M. Burri, ‘Should There Be New Multilateral Rules for Digital Trade?’, E15Initiative, Geneva: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and World Economic Forum, 2015, http://e15initiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/E15-Innovation-Burri-FINAL.pdf.

36 Kox and Nordàs, ‘Services Trade and Domestic Regulation’, supra n. 23.

38 Trammell, A. M. and Bambauer, D. E., ‘Personal Jurisdiction and the “Interwebs”’, 100 Cornell Law Review (2015), 1129.

39 Reidenberg, J. R., ‘Technology and Internet Jurisdiction’, 153 University of Pennsylvania Law Review (2005), 1951, 19631967.

40 OECD, ‘Key Issues for Digital Transformation in the G20’, Report prepared for a joint G20 German Presidency/ OECD Conference, Berlin, Germany (12 January 2017) , 86–87, www.oecd.org/g20/key-issues-for-digital-transformation-in-the-g20.pdf.

41 Jackson, J., ‘The Perils of Globalization and the World Trading System’, 24 Fordham International Law Journal (2005), 371.

42 OECD, ‘Key Issues for Digital Transformation in the G20’, supra note 40, 54 (‘The Internet has thus achieved global interconnection without the development of any international regulatory regime.’)

43 A. Mattoo and D. K. Mishra, ‘Foreign Professionals and Domestic Regulation’, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 4782 (2016), http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/605301468323722918/pdf/WPS4782.pdf (looking at US licensing restrictions on Indian professionals).

44 Meltzer, J. P., ‘The Internet, Cross-Border Data Flows and International Trade’, 2 Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies (2015), 90 (‘International trade in services is where the Internet has had the most significant impact, whether it is online music, video or software, access to professional services in health, architecture or consulting, or as a result of outsourcing by companies of back office services such as call centres and payroll processing’).

45 A. Mattoo, ‘Economics and Law of Trade in Services’ (February 2005), 23, http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.548.3642&rep=rep1&type=pdf.

46 Jackson, ‘The Perils of Globalization and the World Trading System’, supra note 41.

47 WTO, ‘Joint Statement on Electronic Commerce’, supra note 7; ‘Some WTO Members to Push for E-Commerce Rules as Broader Deal Fails’, Reuters (13 December 2017), www.reuters.com/article/us-trade-wto-digital/some-wto-members-to-push-for-e-commerce-rules-as-broader-deal-fails-idUSKBN1E72YV.

48 Burri, M., ‘The Regulation of Data Flows Through Trade Agreements’, 48 Georgetown Journal of International Law (2017), 411414.

49 Thayer, James D., ‘The Trade of Cross-Border Gambling and Betting: The WTO Dispute Between Antigua and the United States’, 3 Duke Law & Technology Review (2004), 112, https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&https://redir=1&article=1117&context=dltr.

50 Wunsch-Vincent, S., ‘The Internet, Cross-Border Trade in Services, and the GATS: Lessons from US–Gambling’, 5 World Trade Review (2006), 319, 327–228, http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.193.7855&rep=rep1&type=pdf.

51 Gao, H.S., ‘Regulation of Digital Trade in US Free Trade Agreements: From Trade Regulation to Digital Regulation’, Legal Issues of Economic Integration, 45(1) (2018), 4770.

53 Reuters Staff, ‘Storm-battered Antigua Asks US to Settle 12-year old WTO bill, Reuters (29 September 2017), www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-antigua-wto/storm-battered-antigua-asks-u-s-to-settle-12-year-old-wto-bill-idUSKCN1C4165.

54 T. Bollyky, ‘The Role of Regulatory Cooperation in the Future of the WTO’, Geneva: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) (2015), http://e15initiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/RTA-Exchange-Regulatory-Coherence-Bollyky-Final.pdf.

55 Shaffer, G., ‘Transatlantic Governance through Mutual Recognition and Safe Harbor Agreements’, 9 Columbia Journal of European Law (Fall 2002), 29, 2932.

56 Wu, T., ‘The World Trade Law of Censorship and Internet Filtering’, 7 Chicago Journal of International Law (2006), 263.

57 Hoekman and Mavroidis, ‘Regulatory Cooperation and the Trading System’, supra note 11 (arguing that trade agreements are designed to combat discrimination); Gao, H. S., ‘Google's China Problem: A Case Study on Trade, Technology and Human Rights under the GATS’, 6 Asian Journal of WTO and International Health Law and Policy (2011), 347, 383385.

58 P. Carsten and M. Martina, ‘US Says China Internet Censorship a Burden for Businesses’, Reuters (8 April 2016), www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-china-trade-internet-idUSKCN0X50RD.

59 S. Donnan, ‘WTO Wrestles with Relevance in Age of ecommerce’, Financial Times (13 December 2017), www.ft.com/content/d9f63c20-e01d-11e7-a8a4-0a1e63a52f9c.

60 Ibid.; WTO, ‘Joint Statement on Electronic Commerce’, supra note 7.

61 See Transpacific Partnership Agreement, ‘Electronic Commerce’, Chapter 16, and ‘Intellectual Property, Chapter 18 (7 June 2018), https://ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements/trans-pacific-partnership/tpp-full-text.

62 A. Mattoo, ‘Services Trade and Regulatory Cooperation’, E15Initiative, Geneva International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD and World Economic Forum (July 2015), http://e15initiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/E15-Services-Mattoo-FINAL.pdf.

63 A. T. Guzman, ‘Global Governance and the WTO’, UC Berkeley Boalt Working Papers in Law (2001), 55–56, https://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2011&context=facpubs (describing how trade policymakers are two steps removed from the demands of individual citizens).

64 Australian Government, ‘TPP Myths vs Realities’, Background papers, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, https://dfat.gov.au/trade/agreements/not-yet-in-force/tpp/Pages/background-papers-tpp-myths-vs-realities.aspx (describing the outreach of Australian trade negotiators to a wide variety of stakeholders including consumer groups).

65 Nicolaidis, K. and Shaffer, G., ‘Transnational Mutual Recognition Regimes: Governance without Global Government’, 64 Law and Contemporary Problems (2005), 263, 264.

66 Roseman, D., ‘Domestic Regulation and Trade in Telecommunications Services: Experience and Prospects under the GATS’, in Mattoo, A. and Sauve, P., Domestic Regulation and Services Trade Liberalization, The World Bank (2004), http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/377591468780874144/pdf/2697710Domesti1iberalization01paper.pdf.

68 A. Mattoo, ‘Services Trade and Regulatory Cooperation’, E15 Initiative, Geneva: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and World Economic Forum (2015), http://e15initiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/E15-Services-Mattoo-FINAL.pdf.

69 U. Ahmed and A. Chander, ‘Information Goes Global: Protecting Privacy, Security, and the New Economy in a World of Cross-border Data Flows’, E15 Initiative, Geneva: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and World Economic Forum (2015), http://e15initiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/E15-Digital-Chander-and-Ahmed-Final.pdf.

70 ‘Pre-Hearing Brief of the Computer and Communications Industry Association in re Global Digital Trade I: Market Opportunities and Key Foreign Trade Restrictions’, United States International Trade Commission (28 March 2017), www.ccianet.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/PHB-to-USITC-2.2018.pdf.

71 C. Chen, ‘United States and European Union Approaches to Internet Jurisdiction and Their Impact on E-Commerce’, 25 University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, 423, 432.

72 European Union General Data Protection Portal (2019), https://eugdpr.org.

73 Fortinet, Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation (2017), www.fortinet.com/content/dam/fortinet/assets/white-papers/preparing-general-data-protection-regulation.pdf.

74 H. Zylberberg, ‘Democracy Hacked: A Security Argument for Data Protection’, Lawfare (26 January 2017), www.lawfareblog.com/democracy-hacked-security-argument-data-protection.

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76 A. Abkowitz, ‘China's Internet Giants Face Users’ Anxiety over Privacy’, Wall Street Journal (8 January 2018), www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-internet-giants-face-users-anxiety-over-privacy-1515411818.

77 Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, White Paper on Data Protection framework for India (2017), http://meity.gov.in/white-paper-data-protection-framework-india-public-comments-invited.

78 Sedgewick, M., ‘Transborder Data Privacy as Trade’, 105 California Law Review (2017), 1513, 1520.

79 Greenleaf, G., ‘Five Years of the APEC Privacy Framework: Failure or Promise’, 25 Computer Law and Security Review (2009), 28, 3435.

80 Cooper, D. and Wandall, H., ‘Scaling Data Protection Globally through Interoperable Accountability’, 41 Datenschutz Datensich (2017), 7476; Federal Trade Commission, ‘FTC Becomes First Enforcement Authority in APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules System’, press release (26 July 2012), www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2012/07/ftc-becomes-first-enforcement-authority-apec-cross-border-privacy.

81 M. A. Weiss and K. Archick, ‘US–EU Data Privacy: From Safe Harbor to Privacy Shield’, Congressional Research Services (19 May 2016), 3–4, https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R44257.pdf.

82 Mattoo, ‘Services Trade and Regulatory Cooperation’, supra note 68.

83 Weiss and Archick, ‘US–EU Data Privacy’, supra n. 81.

84 Department of Commerce, ‘Statement from US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on European Court of Justice Safe Harbor Framework Decision’, press release (6 October 2015), www.bvdw.org/fileadmin/bvdw/upload/dokumente/recht/eu_us_privacy_shield/Statement_des_U.S._Secretary_of_Commerce__engl.__06.10.2105.pdf; ‘European Commission Launches EU–US Privacy Shield: Stronger Protection for Transatlantic Data Flows’ (12 July 2016), http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-2461_en.htm.

85 G. C. Hufbauer and E. Jung, ‘The US–EU Privacy Shield Pact: A Work in Progress’, PB 16-12 (August 2016), 3–4, https://piie.com/publications/policy-briefs/us-eu-privacy-shield-pact-work-progress.

86 Ibid. at 4 (describing the Federal Trade Commission as the primary enforcer of Privacy Shield in the US).

87 N. Crain and M. Crain, ‘The Impact of Regulatory Costs on Small Firms’, Small Business Administration (September 2010), www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/The%20Impact%20of%20Regulatory%20Costs%20on%20Small%20Firms%20(Full).pdf (describing the higher cost per employee of regulatory compliance for smaller businesses as compared to medium businesses).

88 Kox and Nordàs, ‘Services Trade and Domestic Regulation’, supra 23.

89 Jackson, ‘The Perils of Globalization and the World Trading System’, supra note 41.

90 Shaffer, ‘Transatlantic Governance through Mutual Recognition and Safe Harbor Agreements’, supra n. 55, 29 (‘Under a policy of harmonization, regulators in separate jurisdictions agree to adopt identical substantive standards and procedures’); P. Dee, ‘The Australia–US Free Trade Agreement: An Assessment’, Pacific Economic Papers No. 345 (2005), 20, https://crawford.anu.edu.au/pdf/pep/pep-345.pdf.

91 Hoekman and Mavroidis, ‘Regulatory Cooperation and the Trading System’, supra note 11; A. Mattoo, ‘Services Trade and Regulatory Cooperation’, supra note 68; International Trade Administration, US–Mexico High Level Regulatory Cooperation Council (2010), www.trade.gov/hlrcc/.

92 See ‘Interoperability: A Key to Meaningful Use’, An Oracle Technical White Paper (November 2010), www.oracle.com/us/industries/healthcare/interoperability-wp-188782.pdf; U. Gasser and J. Palfrey, ‘Breaking Down Digital Barriers: When and How ICT Interoperability Drives Innovation’, Berkman Publication Series (November 2007), 4–5, https://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/2710237; ‘Interoperability – A Necessary Complication’, Rail News (12 August 2015), www.railengineer.uk/2015/08/12/interoperability-a-necessary-complication/.

93 Shaffer, ‘Transatlantic Governance through Mutual Recognition and Safe Harbor Agreements’, supra n. 55, 29.

94 K. Nicolaidis, ‘A World Of Difference: Exploring the Dilemma of Mutual Recognition’ (2005), www.princeton.edu/~hmilner/Conference_files/KEOHANE/nicolaidis.pdf.

95 K. Lenaerts, ‘The principle of Mutual Recognition in the Area of Freedom, Security, and Justice’, The Fourth Annual Sir Jeremy Lever Lecture (30 January 2015), www.law.ox.ac.uk/sites/files/oxlaw/the_principle_of_mutual_recognition_in_the_area_of_freedom_judge_lenaerts.pdf.

96 G. Hepburn, ‘Alternatives to Traditional Regulation’, OECD Report, www.oecd.org/gov/regulatory-policy/42245468.pdf.

97 S. Aigner, ‘Mutual Recognition of Authorized Economic Operators and Security Measures’, 4 World Customs Journal (2010), 47, 50.

98 Arnold, P. J., ‘Disciplining Domestic Regulation: The World Trade Organization and the Market for Professional Services’, Accounting, Organizations and Society, 30 (2005), 290330.

99 ‘The EU–Canada Aviation Agreements – Q&A’, Memo/09/18, Brussels (6 May 2009), http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-09-218_en.pdf.

100 Securities and Exchange Commission, ‘Australian Authorities Sign Mutual Recognition Agreement’ (2008), www.sec.gov/news/press/2008/2008-182.htm; Verdier, Pierre-Hughes, ‘Mutual Recognition in International Finance’, 52 Harvard International Law Journal (2011), 56.

101 Shaffer, ‘Transatlantic Governance through Mutual Recognition and Safe Harbor Agreements’, supra n. 55, 29.

102 Ibid.

103 Mattoo, ‘Services Trade and Regulatory Cooperation’, supra note 68.

104 See Shapiro, E., ‘All is not Fair in the Privacy Trade: The Safe Harbor Agreement and the World Trade Organization’, 71 Fordham Law Review (2003), 2781.

105 Schmidt, S. K., ‘The Impact of Mutual Recognition – Inbuilt Limits and Domestic Responses to the Single Market’, 9 Journal of European Public Policy (2002), 935, 938.

106 A. Mattoo and P. Sauve, ‘Domestic Regulation and Trade in Services: Looking Ahead’ (2004), http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTRANETTRADE/Resources/WBI-Training/sauve-mattoo_lookingaheadgats_04.pdf.

107 J. Lang, ‘The First Five Years of the WTO’, 21 Law and Policy of International Business (2000), 801, https://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/geojintl31&div=49&g_sent=1&casa_token= (discussing services negotiations as being fundamentally different than traditional goods negotiations) (discussing the lack of basic rule of law practices in developing countries).

108 Mattoo and Sauve, ‘Domestic Regulation and Trade in Services: Looking Ahead’, supra note 106.

109 Hoekman and Mavroidis, ‘Regulatory Cooperation and the Trading System’, supra note 11.

110 Nicolaidis and Shaffer, ‘Transnational Mutual Recognition Regimes: Governance without Global Government’, supra note 64.

111 Hoekman and Mavroidis, ‘Regulatory Cooperation and the Trading System’, supra note 11.

112 Bull, R. T., ‘Public Participation and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership’, 83 George Washington Law Review (2015), 1262, 1283 (arguing that most regulators might see regulatory cooperation as an unnecsary drain on resources unless there are reforms in the process); Hoekman and Mavroidis, ‘Regulatory Cooperation and the Trading System’, supra note 11.

113 OECD, ‘Key Issues for Digital Transformation in the G20’, supra note 40, 86–87.

114 Geist, M., ‘Is There a There There? Toward Greater Certainty for Internet Jurisdiction’, 16 Berkeley Technology Law Journal (2001), 1415.

115 Kalypso , ‘A World Of Difference: Exploring the Dilemma of Mutual Recognition’, supra note 94.

116 Editorial, ‘USMCA: Lot of Bother for not Much Change’, Winnipeg Free Press (27 December 2018).

117 Sunstein, C., ‘The Regulatory Lookback’, 94 Boston University Law Review (2014), 579.

118 ‘Always Be Compliant: Regtech Deal Activity Set to Hit New High’, CB Insights (15 November 2016), www.cbinsights.com/research/regtech-compliance-startup-funding-trends/.

119 Institute of International Finance, Regtech in Financial Services, Technology Solutions for Compliance and Reporting (March 2016), www.iif.com/Publications/ID/1686/Regtech-in-Financial-Services-Solutions-for-Compliance-and-Reporting.

120 Hoekman and Mavroidis, ‘Regulatory Cooperation and the Trading System’, supra note 11.

121 Mattoo and Sauve, ‘Domestic Regulation and Trade in Services: Looking Ahead’, supra note 106.

This piece is dedicated to the late Joe Alhadeff who was a role model and spent his life working across borders, sectors, and divides to drive towards universally beneficial solutions.

The Importance of Cross-Border Regulatory Cooperation in an Era of Digital Trade

  • USMAN AHMED (a1)

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