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IGF 2017 - Day 1 - Room IX - WS151 E-Commerce: Good or Bad for Development?

 

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Twelfth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Geneva, Switzerland, from 17 to 21 December 2017. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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>> SANYA SMITH REID:  Is that in WTO there are proposals to have new rules.  And there are a proposals from last year.  The mandate of WTO at the moment is to discuss the issue of e‑commerce and that is ‑‑ and they still haven't figured out some basic things, like a transport service or a computer service.  And with that we don't know if WTO members are 164 countries and they have  commerce rules, but I sit in countries where you have ‑‑ and would like to negotiate but not all ine ‑‑ there is no mandate to negotiate from yet at the WTO.  So the WTO in addition to being Government Forum which is ‑‑ if you don't apply and you get WTO and if you use tariff and ‑‑ and if you present about but the privacy exception of WTO citizens groups is very similar to the one ‑‑ and Governments are trying to use those general exceptions 44 times, since the WTO began in 1995.  And how many times did they succeed?  Once.  Everything else failed.  In addition to that the privacy exception of WTO has ‑‑ that says you can only use it for laws that are consistent with the WTO's.  Means connection ‑‑ so a lot of experts think that those private ‑‑ that privacy exception are not.  So we see, for example, in the training services agreement free trade being negotiated by a number of countries that the European Union, the DG justice responsible for privacy that this WTO exception is not good enough to protect privacy.  And they wanted a better privacy exception. 

So the question then is what are the chances of getting a better privacy exception of WTO if there are e‑commerce rules, for example, that lead to privacy exceptions and then something that maybe some of our panel in my experience from inside of the negotiations can comment on based on their experiences to get other exceptions to these WTO's.  I think if Pablo is ready to go we will start with Pablo because he also just got back from Buenos Aires of where he had an experience.  It is quite precedented to the WTO history.  The floor is yours. 

   >> PABLO VIOLLIER:  Good morning.  My name is Pablo Viollier.  I am connected to the best development of Civil Rights in DG development.  We were just coming back from Buenos Aires where we had quite an experience.  We bought the plane tickets and hotels and everything and a couple of days before we traveled we got an e‑mail from WTO saying that the Argentinean Government, demanded our ‑‑ 16 individuals from 20 different organizations.  And a couple of days after the Intergovernmental person was saying that this ‑‑ this implementation was based on national security issues and these NGOs are being violent and disruptive.  We are just a bunch of nerds.  We sit in an office and correct papers and we have never gone to the street or called for some sort of a public action in the streets.  We engage in decision makers.  And so it was quite a shock to be labeled as disruptive and uninvited because it is just not true.  And the same is true for all the other NGOs.  So where should we travel ‑‑ we traveled to Buenos Aires because we had the tickets and hotels and it was being afraid on the border.  I already knew that at least two other activists and journalists were from Norway and another one from (?), we were retained in the airport for a lot of hours and then we return to the country.  Put on a plane to Brazil.  He went to Norway. 

So the Argentinean Government departed one activist and one journalist.  And when we got there, I was able to enter the country, maybe ‑‑ I don't know.  We actually ‑‑ I wasn't allowed to enter the building.  So I spent the first two days of the conference just trying to get the Chilean Embassy to get me connected.  And I was able to go the last day of the meeting.  That was quite demoralizing.  Other members of the society were not able to travel because their visa was rejected.  So all of these ‑‑ what happened at this WTO meeting. 

The levels of transparency, participation which actually a lot of members of Civil Society viewed with you guys, there was an argument saying that maybe talking about e‑commerce and other privacy issues related to Persons with Disabilities at the WTO level because there was a better level of transparency and participation that maybe, I don't know, visa process, but I think that everything we saw in the last round of the WTO shows us that it doesn't reflect reality.  That the levels of participation at this level is not a multi‑stakeholder but it is another multi‑stakeholder fact that a lot of organizations were not able to participate based on their views on certain issues and it is quite disturbing.  And I think it should be ‑‑ it takes to re‑evaluate our position on how those kind of rules that affect Human Rights to be discussed at that level because there are trade related issues but they also have a Human Rights component.  It is ‑‑ of course, e‑commerce is a positive ‑‑ every one of us enjoyed by alliance enjoyed the different services.  And under ‑‑ the first thing is what about e‑commerce rules.  The e‑commerce rules that are actually being proposed for Human Rights and we have observed in at least three of them that are actually reflective on other Treaties like TB and visa, can have an affect on Human Rights.  And it is also worth noting to note that other big issues that actually do facilitate e‑commerce in a great way such as the human access ‑‑ Human Rights, universal access to Internet.  And ‑‑ which actually do facilitate e‑commerce in a great way are not being discussed at these levels. 

So, for example, cross‑border data flow are being discussed.  But after the run ended, most of them don't actually have data protection laws.  So the fact that there is a rule requiring to allow cross data flows without appropriate data protection that will mean that the country that is receiving this that this personal data as an equivalent or at least a minimum level of data protection is not being proposed.  And we think that changes the burden of proof.  Instead of the part of companies being able to demonstrate that the country that is receiving this personal data has a level of ‑‑ a minimum level of data protection is the burden of proof to countries that have the proof that their policies that protect the Human Rights privacy meets the requirements that, for example, in DG that is not a hidden way of protectionism or doesn't reflect the spirit of Treaty.  So it is just a burden of proof.  Also source code regulation can hinder a country's abilities to implement the open source software.  And it is ‑‑ and audit software based inside the security.  So cybersecurity levels. 

And finally data localization is very difficult issues.  There is a lot at stake there.  You are going to talk more about it.  But the fact is is that we still don't know or are not able to assess what is ‑‑ what will be the economic, social and even the territory of our democracy.  The fact that today in the United States, for example, will dominate 85% of the market regarding revenue.  It doesn't really ‑‑ really don't have an effect on our democracy and our society and our Republic.  So we think that those rules at the WTO level right now, not knowing the effects of that may be everything good. 

Finally I want to comment on ‑‑ they will have rich Consensus between a small ‑‑ between groups of countries that are like‑minded.  So I think that's really troubling that a group of countries even though the Consensus wasn't reached would actually go by themselves and say this wasn't a Consensus but we are going to advance at this level in a way.  This doesn't ‑‑ this doesn't go through the rules ‑‑ inside the WTO where there is members and where there is organisms installed.  And the fact that these countries said either way we still want to talk about it.  And we are going to have our own private plot.  And we are not one of the cool guys.  And we are still going to advance these issues.  I think it is a ‑‑ to move to organisms towards the future. 

   >> SANYA SMITH REID:  As Pablo mentioned some of the proposed ‑‑ and there are proposals, what concern countries like and that ‑‑ mentioned one of them is a ban on Governments requiring disclosure or access to source code.  So some of you might want open source code in your voting machines or open source in other situations or Governments might need to check the source code, for example, in the Toyota federal car crashes or when you want to check algorithms like the DNN matching that the New York courts have disclosed.  The next speaker Aileen Kwa, she will be talking about what is being proposed in WTO, these e‑commerce rules which are much probably more than just e‑commerce.  Thank you, Aileen. 

   >> AILEEN KWA:  Thanks.  Good morning, everyone.  Right.  I left a document outside the room in case you are interested.  It covers all the NC11 issues but e‑commerce being a key issue does take up quite a bit of space in the report.  But I was asked to speak a little bit about the WTO in general.  Now the WTO is an institution with quite a lot of keys because it has a settlement body.  It has a set of rules that came from the Uruguay round.  The central mandate of the WTO, of course, it is supposed to be trade localization for development, for deployment, but at the end of the day it is about trade and civilization.  However the current WTO rules, the ones that we have right now in relation to goods, what we call the gaps and also the gaps in relation to services, that allows countries to protect their own economies and their own services or good sectors in certain areas but also ask them to liberalize in some other areas. 

So this is how kind of what it looks like.  And countries have not usually used trade policy tools in relation to their industrialization processes.  So in some areas if I am interested in enforcing law, I will lower my tariff because that might be good for my economy.  I might be wanting to assemble a car and might want to import components.  And so I reduce my tariff.  But at some point when I decide that, you know, my domestic country is good enough and my industrial capacity is actually advanced enough to produce those components myself I might want to increase those tariffs so that I can encourage my domestic players to actually produce those components. 

So countries have traditionally new strict policies to support their industrialization process.  And so you see a patchwork in the WTO whereby in some areas some countries have opened some sectors and in others it is more protected.  And it is not just Developing Countries but Developed Countries do that as well.  Historically what they have done that in their own industrialization process.  And today you see that certainly in the area of agriculture Developed Countries do protect to a huge extent the agriculture sector because they, you know, they have traditionally been less connected and have ruled this protection in order to process their own promise.  I think all of this because e‑commerce challenges this to a large degree where we talk to you about e‑commerce, yes, there is e‑commerce and ‑‑ I am talking about e‑commerce rules.  Right now in the WTO there is the 1998 work program and in this document you can find the work program in, let's see, in annex 6.  So it is a fairly simple work program.  It is two pages.  Well, it is not that simple but it is two pages.  The issues are quite complex.  Basically it is a discussion mandate.  It is asking members to look at the existing WTO agreement and to look at how those agreements can incorporate e‑commerce.  So with the idea that in the future we might have ‑‑ e‑commerce rule in the WTO that are based on the existing agreements that are already there. 

So this is the 1998 e‑commerce work program.  So there are ‑‑ there are ‑‑ there is a mandate for ‑‑ to have these discussions.  Now what has happened in the last two, three years at the WTO is that certain Developed Countries, Governments especially have come up with a different digital agenda for rules and the United States in particular has basically after having negotiated a TPC effectively brought to the WTO the TTP rules that they had and put it in 2016 with a paper in the WTO saying well, this is not a proposal but this is something that we should discuss.  And when you looked at all the rules that were in the TPP and then this was followed with ‑‑ by other members taking on the same kind of positions.  Japan, the European Union even asking for these kinds of rules. 

Now if you go down to the last slide, the last slide in the powerpoint, yes, slide 13 I think, yes.  Okay.  That's a lot of work here but what I did is I just ‑‑ I copied and pasted what was in the U.S. proposal in 2016.  But suffice to say that what all of this means is that if we go down this track and have rules that are based on what is being currently proposed, what we are being asked is to basically open up our advantage completely both in groups when they become digitalized in the future as well as in services. 

And if you can go to slide 6 and just to give you an idea of what the implications are on this slide we have some quotes from the banking sector about why it is that they want e‑commerce because they are set up with the WTO rules that are currently there.  And they do not want also countries to stop taking on regulations that might block their market access.  So in this slide they are complaining about some of the regulations that countries have taken, that lead to ‑‑ degrades a financial institution to provide services across countries and regions.  Data localization regulations may mean that banks' long‑standing plans for global consolidation of technology platforms are no longer viable and they need to rethink their data and technology architecture.  So basically banks want and financial institutions digital ‑‑ financial institutions that provide digitalized services wants to have global access to global markets.  And the issue for Developing Countries in the WTO is if we completely open up given the very, very complex nature of suppliers in Developed Countries and in some other Developing Countries compared to many less Developing Countries it may mean it could wipe out the domestic suppliers and the domestic banking industries.  And this is similar in other sectors as well. 

So the issue of industrialization and whether or not we can have trade rules the way that we always had them, that allow countries a certain amount of policy space so that they can also ‑‑ Developing Countries can also support their own domestic suppliers and also industrialized and have stole a piece of the pie that is important.  And this is what the e‑commerce rules in the U.S. and others are proposing.  This is why it is problematic. 

   >> SANYA SMITH REID:  Thank you very much.  And for those who came here late, there was badges problems and what you missed so far is we are discussing not the concept of e‑commerce but whether the e‑commerce rules that are proposed at the World Trade Organization would help or harm the environment.  Only governments are in the room negotiating because the rules are very enforceable.  We don't comply and you get sued at the international tribunal, it is tariffs or exports that change the compliance.  We heard from Pablo Viollier and others in this room were discredited from the last WTO Ministerial Conference.  And the WTO Secretariat did not intervene to get them successfully reaccredited.  And from Aileen the WTO rules are copied from the Transpacific Agreement which the U.S. withdrew from.  And it includes restricting Government's ability to audit or access source code for cybersecurity. 

And next we will go to Fernando Rosales from the Bolivian Mission to the WTO.  He is one of the negotiators at the WTO here in Geneva.  And you can hear from him personally his experience with trying to get better rules in the WTO and what he thinks about these proposals.  Thank you, Fernando. 

   >> FERNANDO ROSALES:  Hello.  Good morning, everyone.  Thanks, Sanya.  I just came from Buenos Aires where I participated as a governmental representative, but what I do not say does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my country.  I would like to share with you my own experience on this issue.  Bolivia as well as other countries around the comment ‑‑ we ‑‑ all Developing and Developed Countries like to benefit our citizens from the Digital Economy

We are in a very particular moment where we are outlining the surface of the Digital Economy.  We know that Developed and Developing Countries face different problems.  And we need to be extremely conscious to promote an open in a way that nobody is left behind. 

Bolivia, for instance, expensive guidance was provided within the last few years that decision of the satellite on the grounds of computers to an important number of teachers and students.  We are facing new challenges related to net connectivity and open access.  In terms of connectivity, around 22% of the population has access to the net and only 3.6% of the population has access to broadband. 

To connect with the optical fiber in the South Pacific sea we have only one point of access that we have ‑‑ but we don't ‑‑ that doesn't get on.  They are completely ‑‑ that would lead to have more opportunities and the only problem that they have is the lack of this opportunity. 

Coming to the works in the ‑‑ e‑commerce at WTO started in 1988 in ministerial Declaration and adoption of the work program.  I am not going to advance on this because it was already explained by Aileen very eloquently.  The work undertaken at WTO was quite a bit like in the past 14 years with some conceptual discussions on different topics without being exhaustive.  In the last two years the debate had different states with ‑‑ many of them oriented to the development, leading bank rules on various proponent targets.  Everywhere I had that e‑commerce and Digital Economy was extremely low and generic ‑‑ loss of benefit in particular person of data companies, which might be true. 

And then some questions came to my mind like if everything is so well, why does other people of WTO participate but usually very stringent.  What kind of participants would be ‑‑ would benefit from a developing contact line.  As time went by proposals didn't go in support of many Developing Countries concerned.  But regarding the proposals seem to be oriented to create a normative framework to bring e‑commerce in the Digital Economy. 

In July 2015 a number of members participated on a set of principles.  The paper mentions that it is not to promote approach or whether ‑‑ we all know these principles were brought to development in lateral and generic agreements from which we can deduce without formatted towards where they aim these proposals.  Then a number of proposals came in with different levels of conditions.  Some contain market access elements other measures related to issue of open.  In both cases they are oriented to limited capacity to expand the benefits of e‑commerce to all. 

Other proposals were oriented to consolidate current monopolies and policies.  It was interesting to me to note that while the proposed ‑‑ limited capacity of states promote a Digital Economy, these ‑‑ it was time to give the international companies more rights and more political power.  We are here to say that to me what is more important was the people.  And the only entity to make the rights prevail was the states.  And not ‑‑ limited to the rights of letter of the states, development of cross data flow.  Communications to state of Consumer Protection and privacy and not custom duties.  Transfer of technology and so forth.  Interestingly there were no proposals to be accepted.  Back to Committee ‑‑ e‑commerce about eight or nine international companies control about 8% of the market. 

Controversial issues in this issue are already well‑known.  To me data flow requires better understanding of ‑‑ demands ‑‑ any entity, data in a particular communication should not be sensitive to respect the loss during this.  Why this entity will have only a data captured in the business without responding to the regulation of that country, after all this entities are not going to share the data with other entities for free. 

In terms of privacy, should not mistake that entities respect the Human Rights privacy.  Unfortunately WTO over Human Rights.  Consumer Protection currently amend ‑‑ the rules for Consumer Protection are set by policy entities and then the problems arise with the company.  More stake ‑‑ to retain itself the rights of people.  In terms of market access, customers do this, discriminatory events are captured in a way.  Developing Countries to have these kind of ‑‑ provided in ‑‑ on terms of technology, we all know ‑‑ we are aware about the problems of transfer of technology. 

The question is what set of rules we can adopt in the national community to promote access to technology.  So far proposals at WTO have not purviewed.  Some proposals are saying that are oriented to promote SMEs.  Enterprise from Developing Countries was set around 50,000 U.S. dollars, high rights.  Are we going to do something about it?  The security also like concerns, without that these issues should be dealt with at the WTO.  Just how we are going to prevent our national institutions or being tracked or written from Spain.  As you can see I have no questions and answers so far.  Directed proposal was submitted ‑‑ and avoid contentious issues and thus highlighted before.  Continue the discussions on this topic at WTO.  And unfortunately WTO is a very tactical organization where Civil Society has not had.  The move of the format of the UN ‑‑ and I don't know if it is good for the ‑‑ for the ‑‑ to resolve some issues of Internet Governance with a narrow trade perspective. 

Finally as I said at the beginning I think the Digital Economy and e‑commerce should be open and equitable in a way that promotes the enjoyment of this wonderful tool for all and not just ‑‑ I think working together we as an international community can achieve the right bias to resolve all these problems. 

   >> SANYA SMITH REID:  Thank you very much.  That was Fernando Rosales.  He is one of the negotiators in the Government Forum.  Not the multi‑stakeholder.  We are discussing whether the e‑commerce, what was proposed in WTO will be helpful for development or Council.  And as you already heard e‑commerce, the concept is doing very well already.  I think there was 22 trillion U.S. dollars in e‑commerce in 2015 without any new rules.  And the question would the rules being proposed in the WTO be helpful or harmful for development.  And some Developing Countries would think they could get aid from the WTO to address the digital divide and put broadband cables.  We see in the proposals by the European Union at the WTO they say that the WTO is where you negotiate rules.  If you want money to go to the World Bank, don't come to the WTO.  So the next speaker is Michael Wamai.  If you have trouble hearing on channel 2, you can switch.  And Michael is from Uganda here in Geneva.  And also came back from the Buenos Aires WTO Ministerial Conference. 

   >> MICHAEL WAMAI:  Thank you.  Thank you very much for having me here.  I feel like most of my talking points have already been introduced to you.  I don't know what I am going to say.  But my first instinct that my Delegation and all my colleagues from the WTO are not against electronic commerce as such.  Our countries are engaging substantively in electronic commerce.  When most come to the UN they provide an electronic commerce.  However the WTO has a broader definition of what an electronic commerce is understood to mean the production, distribution, marketing, sales, or delivery of different senses by an electronic means. 

The question has been however that is it time for us to negotiate multilateral rules, should we Institute bilateral rules.  What kind of rules do we want, what's the history of multilateral rule making in the field of electronic commerce.  These have been the discourse that we have had at the WTO.  Most of us have been arguing, wait a minute, what has been the example that you follow in your own past to development of the electronic commerce industry.  So we have studied other countries from the South.  And we have realized that none of these countries have been in a hurry and gives them the leg room to foster and derive benefit to the point they have matured and are in a position to go out and participate. 

We also looked at other major players.  Some big ones that you all know that I am reluctant to name.  Why are they pushing us to develop our own digital vision.  We don't have the infrastructure or the frameworks in place.  But (inaudible) have been required to inter alia not to require foster technology, no data localization, free flow.  No ‑‑ all of these complex ideas.  Why?  So we are actually coming from Africa.  I am very familiar with colonialism and colonization.  They promoted and coverage by the major players and we don't want to see history repeat itself.  We have learned from the agreement that the idea that will give you special and differential treatment that you be able to seek accommodation with existing rules is actually an illusion.  Because we tried from Bali and Nairobi and Buenos Aires and it failed.  Because our ‑‑ this was not our understanding of special and differential treatment.  And we feel if we rush in to multilateral rule making at this particular point in time it will constrain and not facilitate our own structures and industrialization.  It should be one trade ‑‑ very good at it in the digital realm. 

What have we suggested?  We have suggested a number of things in the WTO.  And one is to create a frame to an alternative directive to understand what is being mainstreamed on the other side, why it is good to have ‑‑ but how the other players managed to develop their own digital industry.  So that is what we have done.  We came up with a panel discussion.  We mentioned some of the people in the industry.  Even out of all these particular industries and ‑‑ to show that the gain is not ‑‑ that it is not ‑‑ that it is not ‑‑ the e‑commerce industry ‑‑ only six countries dominate cross‑border ‑‑ it is very ‑‑ meaning therefore that this discipline in this particular area will further imbalances going in to the future.  And that we have many structural constraints. 

Africa, for instance, right now, nations offline and only 15% of LDCs use the Internet.  But 600 million in Africa have more access.  So how are you going to generate content to be able to sell in order to generate benefits?  There is a lot of stuff that we need to do.  In our own industry, we need to scale up our population.  We need to provide infrastructure.  ITU has a program, I think it is the 2020 agenda where they intend to connect 1.5 billion people to the Internet.  But they informed, their Secretary‑General informed us in one of the panel discussions, it was him, the DG, G3ict technical director, connect 1.5 billion people to the Internet.  There is not enough money to do it.  There is another narrative that that is being perpetuated by other proponents.  Because as we have seen out of the top 10% of trade, only two are LDCs.  They have downward trajectory in terms of ‑‑ so there is a lot of material going out there.  It is not actually accurate.  But what is required from us to be able to track cautiously.  We have learned from experiences all the way around that sometimes agreements make constraints and does not facilitate development.  We need to understand there is a digital, technological and knowledge divide of the administration in our own field and makes it necessary for us to take our time. 

And I know the comments about the idea about the TRIPS agreement that Sanya spoke about.  An exception that's granted around ‑‑ in order to be able to build capacity, if you want to build capacity, you will be given sufficient time to do so. 

The experience we have had and I made the negotiations for the LDCs to make the extension.  Local LDCs provide a request, shall provide extension.  But even with that you have to fight for it.  So we have wanted that intervention period to be provided and LDCs to be bragging.  So they refuse to give us ‑‑ give a limited transition time.  So we add ‑‑ amend the agreement.  And we are following the proper procedure.  But once they oppose this ‑‑ the point is that ‑‑ the point is that within the WTO not everything is as it seems.  You have to fight for it.  Nobody gives charity.  It is not a development but it is an IT machine.  What you get is what you negotiate.  So these few comments.  I will be happy to take any questions.  Thank you. 

   >> SANYA SMITH REID:  Thank you very much, Michael.  So we will have time for questions at the end.  Two more speakers.  We have got Latin America and Africa and Uganda.  And you heard the difficulties with extending the Intellectual Property rules.  So we will go to David Snead who we will hear about what is the Trump Administration's position on this and how do we understand the current U.S. government's position.  Thank you very much. 

   >> DAVID SNEAD:  So I'll start out by saying that I will explain what the Trump Administration's position is but that's not necessarily the position that my organization has or something that we support. 

So let me tell you a little bit beforehand about my organization.  I am part of the Internet infrastructure coalition, the IT coalition.  The IT coalition is a group of 100 mostly small to medium‑sized businesses around the world, mostly in U.S., Europe, and Asia.  People like web hosts, registrars, registries, data centers, people like that.  All of our members by and large started their own businesses.  So these are ‑‑ I describe them as two guys and servers in their mom's basement.  And I think that that's one of the things that's important to understand about our perspective.  And that is we deal with the Internet not as the Internet that people tend to interact with on a daily basis but as the people who actually make the Internet run.  These are people who are lacking in stacking servers.  These are people who are negotiating bandwidth contracts.  These are very small to medium‑sized businesses.  So that's how we approach our viewpoint.  For trade and trade issues we take a position that trade will only succeed when a number of different perspectives are included in the trade negotiation process.  That means that trade will only succeed when Civil Society, when Human Rights organizations are given the opportunity to participate in a way that is meaningful in the process. 

So, for example, we drafted a letter to the Secretary‑General of the WTO asking him to look in to the fact that a bunch of accreditation that was just talked about.  We were joined by two other large Internet trade associations.  So that's kind of to give you a little bit of example of where the IT coalition is. 

Now I will talk a little bit about where the Trump Administration is.  So I think it is pretty clear what we, U.S.'s position towards the WTO is.  It is not any different than the current administration's position towards trade in general.  And that is the trade administration believes that the U.S. has not benefitted in a way that is material from trade and trade agreements and is favoring a ‑‑ is favoring a one‑to‑one approach as opposed to a multilateral approach. 

I think ‑‑ I am a little bit heartened by the fact that the U.S. participated in the ministerial and didn't just totally blow it up which is kind of good.  And is looking at the e‑commerce negotiations which are at least in some respects multilateral.  But I think it would be deceiving ourselves to believe that the Trump Administration does not have a decidedly different view about the U.S. and U.S.'s role in trade than prior administrations.  So, you know, we have things that I think everybody is probably aware of, the U.S. refusing to agree to judicial appointments in the WTO and blocking appellate body as a way of showing its dissatisfaction, a way that decisions are made in the WTO. 

All of these things I think are worth considering.  So what plurilateral negotiations may look like?  It is really hard to tell.  The Trump Administration is not real great about communicating in a positive way about what they ‑‑ what they are looking for but I think we might look towards the information technology agreement as an example of where things might go. 

Other things that were a major concern, the U.S. does not have a permanent political representative to the WTO in Geneva.  So work is being done.  The U.S. Ambassador to the WTO has not been confirmed by the Senate and there is not a real push from the Trump Administration to make that push through Congress.  So it is ‑‑ for people who look to the U.S. for leadership on‑multilateral trade issues I think that's not going to happen with the current administration.  Where I think that leadership is going to come from and where it looks might come from is the EU.  So people who tend to favor the EU's approach to different issues, for example, privacy by being heartened a little bit by that fact. 

Let me see if there is anything that ‑‑ so go back to what IT coalition believes in and the issues that we think are important to consider, the IT coalition is very ‑‑ very importance of copyright and copyright exceptions including them in trade agreements is a way of facilitating Internet commerce.  We understand that localization is a difficult term for a lot of ‑‑ for a lot of countries.  We do not take the position that localizations are a black and white issue.  We believe there are some instances where requiring local data is actually important and we support that. 

And finally as I said before we ‑‑ the trade agreements and the trade negotiation process should be inclusive.  Understanding, of course, that these are negotiations.  And these ‑‑ this is not a multi ‑‑ the trade negotiations are not a multi‑stakeholder ‑‑ they are part of a multi‑stakeholder organization where everything can be out in the open.  So, for example, we understand that Governments sometimes need to keep trade agreements and trade negotiations secret.  We do believe that there is an opportunity though for Governments to provide some transparency in other negotiating processes.  So that's all we have. 

   >> SANYA SMITH REID:  Thank you very much for that insight to the Trump Administration.  And as you have been hearing the source code proposal for the WTO are a proposal for stronger Intellectual Property.  We call it TRIPS Plus on trade secrets.  And you heard from Michael the Least Developed Countries don't have the existing level of Intellectual Property protection but just down the road here in Geneva is the World Intellectual Property Organization, UN body where they are negotiating Intellectual Property rules in basically a multi‑stakeholder process.  I can sit in the negotiation and get the text.  And I can speak after the government and I can watch the whole negotiations and give input negotiating the same Intellectual Property rules that are being proposed in the free trade agreements. 

So in WIPO they manage to conclude agreements even though it is public and it is multi‑stakeholder.  So I don't think it is necessarily it has to be done in secret or they can't reach a deal.  The climate change negotiations are done in public.  Is not some military nuclear technology.  We now move to Asia's Parminder Sigh from India.  And then after that I promise we will open for questions.  Thank you. 

   >> PARMINDER SIGH:  Thank you.  Sorry.  Thank you, Sanya.  I am going to ‑‑ the question which frames the title of the workshop is e‑commerce good or bad for development.  The digital ‑‑ interpret what we mean by e‑commerce which we are talking about is good or not.  It is a very strange term.  So many things more or less meaningless in the sense that it means very different things to different people.  But e‑commerce, so let me try to see it from a few angles.  When we say e‑commerce if it is good or bad, as ‑‑ used at global venues or trade venues mostly.  And that's ‑‑ it is very different in that meaning in terms of people going to ‑‑ Jack Ma, the owner of Ali baba is one of the biggest Ambassadors of this term e‑commerce globally.  He is the Ambassador of e‑commerce within UNCTAD and got in to a relationship with WTO. 

Now very interestingly Jack Ma himself in his own company has strategic papers that say that e‑commerce is a very transparent term.  He says it is just a very ‑‑ other bank, as you explain there is something so transient and put all our faith on that term.  We should be talking about what that other bank which is getting us to, which strangely Jack does not talk much about at UNCTAD or at WTO. 

So what we are really talking about and has described, this new detail around with new logistics and payments and manufacturing and ‑‑ so basically you know there is a lot of stuff changing.  What we are talking about is the digitalization which is taking place across all our parts of society.  Economy is one part of it.  But we know that.  That change is taking place around us and to put this e‑commerce on top of and describing it as dirty commerce and say it is good.  It is rather disingenuous in different ways. 

Another way to put it, at WTO which many of us are coming back from, they are insisting that there should be e‑commerce rules as soon as possible and these are Developing Countries that does backwards if you don't accept e‑commerce because e‑commerce is good for everyone. 

So why not wanting e‑commerce.  We don't want them right now.  But we have some issues which Mike and some other leaders explained.  Strangely in this same building there is another group under the UN Committee on science and technology for development which is called Working for Enhanced Cooperation which is deliberating there should be an administration for making global policy and rules for the digital policy and that Developing Countries is saying we don't need an institution.  And that Developing Countries we are saying, no, at least start talking about public policy issues and society.  It is funny that we need e‑commerce rules, but we don't want digital society rules.  And this example shows how this has become a kind of football which is ‑‑ which has a very different meaning by different people. 

WTO China means by e‑commerce something very different than what you and other groups mean.  China is ‑‑ and they want to open up the markets for it.  And what they are looking for in the term e‑commerce is the data flows.  They are very different things and both of them use the term e‑commerce.  I think that the ‑‑ so many times of why this term is ‑‑ Shanghai is not in the part of these countries that got together to form a group within the WTO to promote e‑commerce and their negotiations. 

So we need to therefore understand what is it that is happening society wide.  What does it mean in terms of economy.  And where do Developing Countries stand in terms of that.  All sectors of the country are changing and interrogate what in Digital Economy, what is digital group, what are the codes with this model and where do they flow while people in Developing Countries ‑‑ I look at it in this manner.  I think it is as big as industrialization.  Industrialization puts machine power at the center of Digital Economy, at the center of the economy.  The machine power was around what all technology information reorganize themselves. 

That's what industrialization was.  And equally now digitalization is when digital intelligence becomes a fulcrum of all digital relationships.  Actually what the central economic administration industrialization era platforms working on data for digital intelligence is the institution of the Digital Economy.  And it is not e‑commerce.  Because people, for example, in the U.S., domestically people don't call Uber as e‑commerce.  Only for other kinds of things.  Uber we are in e‑commerce and that's a big part of what is happening.  I mean again this term is wrong.  What happens is a new kind of digital intelligence aiming completely original ‑‑ top of the value chain. 

Looking back, if you owned access, you were at the top of the value chain.  When other interactions or one step higher and use that at the top of the value chain.  And now if you own database digital intelligence, you are looking at one level higher.  What I am trying to say true understand normal ‑‑ we are not going to drag, they are not trying to loop back to the past.  They know things are changing but the view is not ‑‑ e‑commerce or against issues here is when new game is opened, who frames the game.  Who is in the new game.  And this game has been tried to be captured by not and using commerce ‑‑ convenient on slide e‑commerce, free flow, data, against data localization and this becomes convenient out of framing the scope in a certain manner to capture states and this becomes no, we don't except this framing.  We want automatic framing.  The fight is not I'm against e‑commerce.  It is the wrong description.  A lot of ‑‑ a lot of the main things when we use the word e‑commerce we are trying to say we are going across data. 

Now free flow data?  Why not equal and free access to data?  Doesn't it look good?  Are those people ready to say that they should be free and equal access to data?  They aren't.  But they want free flow data.  Data is a resource and the input equal and free access to it should be talked about it.  Because free flow means my data ‑‑ somebody else and that kind of (?) to include when societies and nations who have their own data which is essentially resource to reorganize economy, the society, the Government systems and that should be freely flowing to another country.  Not that for me, a test why don't they say that all data should be equally and freely available to everyone.  Why can't you change the framing to that.  Why don't we talk about data rather than free flow data. 

So I am trying to pose all these to say that the way to frame that some people have been good, they are listening to the future and others are looking past and ‑‑ if we really want to go to Digital Society and Digital Economy and just run ‑‑ we should ‑‑ frame the rules and the ‑‑ in a just and equal manner.  And that's where we should start off in digital industrial policy.  And we might talk about how like traditional industrialization is required at the country to look at its own situation, the role of the public sector, role of private sector and small industries in the same way that countries look at the role of the public sector and private sector and public digital infrastructures, public data.  This is the kind of complex that we are to be talking about in convenient terms of e‑commerce with raw data.  And we should make a new start there. 

   >> SANYA SMITH REID:  Thank you very much.  So with that you have heard about the distinction between e‑commerce, the concept by stuff online, already 22 trillion U.S. dollars and proposed rules at the World Trade Organization which is not a Multi‑stakeholder Forum.  We will open the floor for questions.  Announce your name and organization.  And we will finish by 10:30 sharp because I know you all have to get to other sessions. 

   >> Richard Hill.  I like to wear camouflage.  All my colleagues have thought of everything that I would say.  There is one point that Parminder said and that only Parminder said.  We have been involved in a number of Internet issues over the past 20 years, is it, Parminder, and make no mistake about it the e‑commerce in the agenda is the same discussion in WTO.  The countries from the North always say there is nothing to discuss.  Everything is fine.  And in many ways there are discussions that have to be multi‑stakeholder.  I was very surprised and outraged when I see now this proposal discussed very same topics in WTO which is the least open and least conclusive of any of these Intergovernmental Forums. 

Some of you remember the outrage in 2012 when Internet issues were proposed to be discussed in ITU which is not fully multi‑stakeholder but more multi‑stakeholder than WTO and WIPO is considered more multi‑stakeholder.  Some of you are here.  I am not going to name names.  Some of these countries are here.  So please let's have a minimum of consistency if these discussions should be multi‑stakeholder, at least not until those Forums are significantly transformed.  How can we talk about e‑commerce when you don't have E?  First these countries need to have the digital infrastructure they need and then start discussing e‑commerce and rules for e‑commerce. 

   >> SANYA SMITH REID:  Thank you.  We have one online and then I will come to you.  Can somebody read it out for us please?  Has been watching very patiently online. 

   >> How can we overcome the challenges of e‑commerce as this varies across the regions? 

   >> SANYA SMITH REID:  One more here and one more at the back and then we will answer them and let you go online.

   >> Also join in the work of organizations, I would like to point out that it's much really about the shaping.  There is a launch of managing by fear and I am finding many students, research papers is out there.  And I think with the questions, including methodologically and this links back to what happened two years ago in the debates of Facebook.  I am told at the WTO, that there was a ‑‑ once Developing Countries, knew you guys are convinced ‑‑ not ‑‑ you are listening to the Developing Countries. 

Mistakes made by Facebook in India when the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said no to three basics.  They said you guys are condemned to the delivery.  And I find power to this discourse in this research paper, this paper comes from the European Center for International Political Economy.  The SEP paper is a recipe for the master.  Because it just bases itself on saying that the data localization is going to lead to so much laws of trade and investment, it is going to be so disastrous for productivity that GDP is going to go down.  And it has been ‑‑ it is based on local facts.  And we need an alternative discourse to reshape all of this. 

   >> SANYA SMITH REID:  Thank you very much.  And the question in the back and then we will come to the panel for answers. 

   >> Basically it is not a question.  It is a suggestion from the ‑‑ from the speaker and from the documents which are at the desk.  It is found that the current claims of WTO are out of date.  And it covers the e‑commerce.  And it was informed by the speaker from the concern ‑‑ concession that six countries are dominating in the e‑commerce market.  And the fact that Developing Countries are struggling to boost the e‑commerce in their effective countries and devising their e‑commerce rules to mitigate e‑commerce challenges such as dispute resolution, Consumer Protections, personal data protections, logistics and taxations.  My suggestion we need to work on how it is possible that we take Developing Countries onboard so that they equally participate as Developed Countries and contribute in forming e‑commerce global strategy and documents in the division of.  Thank you.

   >> SANYA SMITH REID:  Which organization? 

   >> IT of e‑commerce of the government of Pakistan. 

   >> SANYA SMITH REID:  Data localization.  And I have been doing some research in countries like New Zealand require tax records to be stored on a cloud so tax evasion investigation they can walk in and get them.  Similarly the U.S. in the Transpacific Partnership Agreement wanted to reserve the right to store financial data locally because in the 2008 financial crisis when Lehman Brothers collapsed and they had data in Hong Kong and they couldn't get the data out of the Hong Kong server, for example, before the market reopened.  There are a number of situations where the U.S. defense says their data must be stored in the U.S. for national security reasons.  So this debate needs to cover I think all the different ministries. 

I calculated the proposed e‑commerce rules of the WTO affecting 13 different Government ministries in areas of law.  It is not just an IT question.  It is about tax, financial regulation, competition laws, pacemaker medical device regulation, environmental, climate change.  It affects all of these things. 

And so the question is would those proposals within the WTO help?  And I turn to any of our panel who want to tackle any of these questions.  We have two minutes before we have to give up the room for another session. 

   >> DAVID SNEAD:  I will go first.  I agree with you.  As I said in my opening remarks that the term data localization it can't be something that's black and white.  There has to be some agreement on where ‑‑ when Governments and when individuals and individual companies can store data locally.  I think that that's part I think of what your comment was about needing to describe the issues that we are talking about specifically and not using a broad term like e‑commerce to cover all of these ‑‑ all of these issues. 

   >> Yes, so one is that we need to give up these convenient label ‑‑ people are up to speed on issues and they are not on to a serious conversation.  The economy, what is information related guides of information and make it right.  There are overlaps but it is a very complex situation.  So data localization, we should not, you know ‑‑ we can leave them and promote.  The question asked by the online participant is that yeah, I mean I took from the question that things are so varied across the regions and the only answer I can give they are so varied that economies, agriculture economies and industrial economies they are very different and Digital Economies are very different.  And they have to be looked at from a local, national and regional perspective.  And we can't give a global model and this is it.  The question with my friend from Pakistan, mainstream of IT, I think Developing Countries need to be got on board.  I know that Pakistan is very active to promote the e‑commercial conversation.  And we need to be aware of and take stock of.  And we should frame it in our manner and put it on the table.  And that's been a struggle.  We should continue to put up.  But we should bring our own framework to the table.  Central combinations are very important.  Thanks. 

   >> SANYA SMITH REID:  (Off microphone). 

   >> Thank you very much.  Mine goes to the online question.  How can we overcome the challenges on e‑commerce?  I think the first thing do not agree to ‑‑ it is not going to ‑‑ don't have any bad rules.  And we need to build additional infrastructure.  We just kill ourselves.  Regulatory framework that we will be able to help our industries thrive.  And I think this is what is really important.  Not rushing to rules and all the run agreements show, that we shouldn't write new rules that will cripple our development in the next century. 

   >> SANYA SMITH REID:  Thank you.  Bolivia one minute and then we will close. 

   >> FERNANDO ROSALES:  (Off microphone).  I think we improve the participation of Developing Countries, there are many issues that we can work on but I just want to ‑‑ I would like to ‑‑ capacity creation, financial support and development of Internet structure.  And I don't think that these issues are going to be resolved at WTO.  E‑commerce would be a better place to discuss. 

   >> SANYA SMITH REID:  Thank you very much.  And there are more materials outside.  And good luck with the rest of the IGF.

 

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