Free flow of data raises certain challenges: G20 trade ministers
Recognising that free flow of data raises certain challenges, trade ministers of G20 on Sunday called for addressing issues related to privacy, data protection, and intellectual property rights.
Cross-border flow of data, information, ideas and knowledge generates higher productivity, greater innovation, and improved sustainable development, a G20 ministerial statement on trade and digital economy said.
"At the same time, we recognise that the free flow of data raises certain challenges," the statement issued after the two-day meet said.
G20 is a grouping of developed and developing countries. The members include India, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, EU, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the UK and US.
The two-day meet of trade and digital economy ministers ended on Sunday. India was represented by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.
"By continuing to address the challenges related to privacy, data protection, intellectual property rights, and security, we can further facilitate data free flow and strengthen consumer and business trust," the statement said.
In order to build trust and facilitate the free flow of data, it is necessary that legal frameworks - both domestic and international - should be respected, it said, adding such free flow of data with trust will harness opportunities of the digital economy.
"We will cooperate to encourage the inter-operability of different frameworks, and we affirm the role of data for development," it added.
India has stated that countries must have the sovereign right to use their data for the welfare and development of its people and advocacy on free trade, should not necessarily lead to justification of data free flow.
The member countries exchanged views on various issues, including the concept of data free flow with trust, World Trade Organisation (WTO) discussions on electronic commerce, and needs for capacity building, bearing in mind the importance of ensuring that all countries are able to realise their opportunities.
"Discussions should continue with a view to enhance the benefits of digitalisation, which is transforming every aspect of our economies and societies, and can contribute to economic growth, job creation, inclusion, development and innovation," the statement said.
To share the benefits of digitalisation worldwide, the members recognise there is a need to enhance investment in infrastructure focusing on ICT, including in developing countries, to facilitate their participation in the digital economy.
On the current trade development, the participating countries agreed that expanding trade and investment will be an important factor to promote future widespread economic prosperity and sustainable growth.
"While growth is expected to increase in 2020, downside risks arising from the current trade environment could undermine this growth," it said adding "we agree that action is necessary to improve the functioning of the WTO...We agree that action is necessary regarding the functioning of the dispute settlement system consistent with the rules as negotiated by the WTO members".
The members also reaffirmed their commitment to fight exploitation of the internet for violent extremist and terrorist purposes, besides promoting a free, open and secure Internet, and addressing content that incites terrorist acts.
"We further encourage G20 countries to take actions to bridge the digital gender divide, including through the development of frameworks to measure and track sex-disaggregated data, and to make efforts to increase women's access to digital networks while addressing abuse and violent online behaviour toward women," the statement said.
The G-20 countries also deliberated in detail about the artificial intelligence.
It recommended certain measures on AI, which are non-binding. The suggestions include the principles of inclusive growth, sustainable development and well-being, transparency, robustness, security and safety.