E-Commerce, Data Flows and Localisation: A Reality Check and Options Ahead

WTO Paths Forward
Organised by
22 October 2018
Geneva, Switzerland

Data has intrinsic value as infrastructure in the new economy, where trade, supply chains and business operations are enabled by the ability to move data globally. 

In December 2017, a group of members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreed to a Joint Statement on Electronic Commerce, effectively opening a path towards a WTO-based open plurilateral negotiation. Since then, these discussions have atttracted the attention of of approximately ninety WTO delegations who have been attending regular work meetings throughout the first semester of 2018. 

As those discussions move into the second half of the year, delegations are looking forward to step up the game by holding text-based member driven thematic discussions, where positions and sensibilities are more clearly reflected and articulated.

In this context, ICTSD has taken the challenge of addressing the important topic of data flows and localisation requirements from both a policy and international rulemaking perspectives. The objective is to provide delegations and policy makers with a set of possible options for tackling this key issue within in the context of the plurilateral discussions.

WTO: Paths Forward is an ICTSD initiative that provides the research, ideas and neutral spaces negotiators need to ensure the technical work required for a successful 12th WTO Ministerial Conference moves forward.

Attendance to this event is by invitation only.

Associate Professor of Law,Singapore Management University; Dongfang Scholar Chair Professor, Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade; Advisory board, WTO Chairs Program. Former: Deputy Director, East Asian International Economic Law and Policy Program, University of Hong Kong; Law Instructor, University of Hong Kong; Instructor, IELPO program (Barcelona) and Academy of International Trade Law (Macau); Academic Coordinator, first Asia-Pacific Regional Trade Policy Course officially sponsored by the WTO; Chinese lawyer at the WTO Secretariat. Widely published on issues relating to China and WTO. Has advised many national governments as well as the WTO, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, APEC and ASEAN on trade issues.

Magnus Rentzhog holds an LLM in European Law from the University of Essex (UK). He is Senior Adviser in the Department for WTO affairs at the Swedish National Board of Trade (Kommerskollegium). He is also Swedish Representative to the European Union Trade Policy Committee (Services and Investments).Mr. Rentzhog supports the Foreign Ministry of Sweden in negotiations, both in the WTO and in bilateral and regional agreements. He has worked extensively on trade in services and investment related issues and conducts research in these areas. He researches the growing importance of services in manufacturing (servicification), services and global value chains and e-commerce (digitalization of trade).

Co-convener of: E15 Services

Marta Soprana is a professional with 10 years' work experience both in the private and public sector, including international organizations. A Trade Policy Consultant specialized in international trade, particularly trade in services, institutional support policies for the internationalization of SMEs as well as private sector development towards foreign markets, Marta worked as a consultant, inter alia, for the World Trade Organization, UNCTAD and the International Trade Centre (ITC).

A graduate of the University of Bologna with a degree in International Relations, she earned her Master Degree in Internationalization of SMEs from the Italian Foreign Trade Institute, in Rome, and her Master in International Law and Economics (MILE) from the World Trade Institute, in Bern.

She speaks Italian, English, Spanish and French. 

Mira Burri has been a senior research fellow at the World Trade Institute since the very beginning of the NCCR Trade project. During the NCCR Phase 1 (2005-2009), Mira was the alternate leader of the eDiversity group. Since then she has been leading the projects on the digital technologies and trade governance.

Mira is a lecturer at the University of Bern. She teaches the course 'International Law of Contemporary Media' , and co-teaches 'International Trade Regulation' and 'International Intellectual Property Law'.

Mira received her law degree from the University of Sofia and a Master of Advanced European Studies (MAES) from the Europe Institute of the University of Basel. Her doctoral thesis dealt with EC communications and competition law (Cameron May 2007) and was awarded the Professor Walther Hug prize for one of the best doctoral theses in law in Switzerland (2006/2007). Prior to joining the NCCR in 2005, Mira was a research fellow at the University of Lucerne and contributed actively to establishing the i-call research centre.

Mira is the co-editor of the publications Free Trade versus Cultural Diversity (Schulthess 2004); Digital Rights Management: The End of Collecting Societies? (Staempfli et al. 2005), as well as more recently, Intellectual Property and Traditional Cultural Expressions in a Digital Environment (Edward Elgar 2008), Governance of Digital Game Environments and Cultural Diversity (Edward Elgar 2010) and Trade Governance in the Digital Age (Cambridge University Press 2012). She has published in a number of peer-reviewed outlets such as the Journal of International Economic Law, the Common Market Law Review, the European Law Review, the International Journal of Cultural Property and I/S: A Journal of the Law and Policy of the Information Society.

Mira is a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Communications Law and Policy and of the International Journal of Cultural Property, as well as a rapporteur to the UK Economic and Social Research Council. Mira has consulted the European Parliament on cultural diversity matters. She consults also on trade and innovation issues, in particular with regard to digital trade.