Insights G7 countries agree Digital Trade Principles

On 22 October 2021 at the G7 Trade Track, Trade Ministers from G7 countries agreed a series of Digital Trade Principles:

  • Open digital markets: digital and telecommunications markets should be competitive, transparent, fair, and accessible to international trade and investment; the internet must be open, free and secure; electronic transmissions should be free of customs duties in accordance with the WTO Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions;
  • Data free flow with trust: data should be able to flow freely across borders with trust, including the trust of individuals and businesses; the countries expressed concern at situations where data localisation requirements are being used for protectionist and discriminatory purposes, as well as to undermine open societies and democratic values, including freedom of expression;
  • Safeguards for workers, consumers and businesses: labour protections must be in place for workers who are directly engaged in or support digital trade, providing decent conditions of work; effective measures must be in place to ensure a high level of consumer protection when purchasing goods and services online; businesses must have a secure digital trading environment, with the highest standards of cybersecurity and resilience against illicit or malign activity;
  • Digital trading systems: to cut red tape and enable more businesses to trade, governments and industry should drive forward the digitisation of trade-related documents, including addressing legal, technical and commercial barriers to the digitisation of paper processes; and
  • Fair and inclusive global governance: common rules for digital trade should be agreed and upheld at the World Trade Organization; 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; to drive growth in an inclusive way, efforts should be intensified to tackle the digital divides between and within countries, taking account of the specific needs of low-income countries, notably the least developed countries.

To read the full text of the five principles, click here.