On September 15, 2023, Alexander Botting published “The Indo-Pacific Region Needs a Comprehensive Digital Trade Agenda” on The Wilson Center. The following is an excerpt:
Yet digital trade need not be as controversial as other areas of trade policy. It is unlikely to lead to the outsourcing of US jobs or the associated environmental and labor concerns. The US is fortunate to have a comparative advantage in digital services such as cloud and cybersecurity, which drive immense benefits to the country’s economy and create good, well-paying jobs at home. Perhaps equally important, digital trade agreements provide the US and its international partners an enduring mechanism to champion human rights and a model digital governance grounded in the principles of a free, fair, and open internet.
In a world where the US declines to engage, trade and digital policy do not operate in a vacuum. Already we see alternative models for digital governance emerging. The models strengthen authoritarianism, such as Russia’s activities at the UN Cybercrime Convention negotiations or China’s Data Security Law. They also champion digital protectionism, as seen in the growing group of data localization measures, which cover even non-sensitive data.
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