Data disrupts trade: Exploring innovative solutions

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Online Event

We invite you to join us for a discussion on data disruption in global trade, and hear from industry experts as they explore innovative solutions.

This session will address: What makes addressing data flows so difficult in trade? Why it's such a politically charged topic? and What makes it different to trading goods and services? 

The event will take place on June 24 at 15:00 - 16:00 CET

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  • Vint Cerf | Co-inventor of the Internet and Vice-President, Google
  • Lee Tuthill | Counsellor, WTO 
  • Lorrayne Porciuncula | Director of Data & Jurisdiction, Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network
  • Michael Kende | Senior Fellow and Visiting Lecturer, The Graduate Institute Geneva


  • Richard Baldwin | Professor of International Economics, The Graduate Institute Geneva

session description

Policy makers, regulators and experts have been attempting for many years to agree on a common vocabulary and a set of rules to integrate data flows within trade frameworks. Despite the inclusion of data-related clauses (e.g. privacy, security, encryption, e-payments, consumer protection, data portability) in a select number of Free Trade Agreements, important divergences continue to exist among major state powers, particularly in the context of World Trade Organization negotiations. Meanwhile, many developing countries are still hesitant to position themselves in the digital trade debate. 

The impasse may lie on the fact that it is difficult to address data with traditional tools. Unlike resources such as oil or gold, data is neither finite nor naturally located in a particular geographic region. Data is context-dependent, multidimensional, prone to having blurred classification boundaries, and involves complex value chains with numerous intermediaries with increasingly diversified roles, which creates a serious obstacle to universal taxonomies and rules, including trade ones. The scope and depth of the current challenges demonstrate the limits of the existing frameworks. Significant innovation is therefore needed, regarding both the tools and the institutional mechanisms we rely on.

background report


We Need to Talk About Data: Framing the Debate Around the Free Flow of Data and Data Sovereignty



The Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network is the leading multistakeholder organization addressing the tension between the cross-border internet and national jurisdictions. Its Secretariat facilitates a global policy process engaging over 400 key entities from governments, the world’s largest internet companies, technical operators, civil society groups, academia, and international organizations from over 70 countries. Stakeholders currently work in three Programs (Data & Jurisdiction, Content & Jurisdiction, and Domains & Jurisdiction) to jointly develop policy standards and operational solutions to pressing legal challenges at the intersection of the global digital economy, human rights, and security. The organization is also the home of the I&J Retrospect Database tracking global trends and the world’s first Internet & Jurisdiction Global Status Report.
The regular Global Conferences of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network are institutionally supported by the Council of Europe, European Commission, ICANN, OECD, United Nations ECLAC, and UNESCO. Partner countries include France (2016), Canada (2018), and Germany (2019). The work of the organization has been presented to and recognized by key international processes, including the UN Internet Governance Forum, G7, G20, or the Paris Peace Forum, and covered in top media outlets such as The Economist, Washington Post, Financial Times, Politico or Fortune. The organization is financially supported by a uniquely diverse coalition of over 20 governments, companies, and organizations.