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Learning about digital trade: Privacy and e-commerce in CETA and TPP

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  • Robert Wolfe

Abstract

It is a truth universally acknowledged that every ambitious 21st century trade agreement is in want of a chapter on electronic commerce. One of the most politically sensitive and technically challenging issues is personal privacy, including cross-border transfer of information by electronic means, use and location of computing facilities, and personal information protection. States are learning to solve the problem of state responsibility for something that does not respect their borders while still allowing 21st century commerce to develop. A comparison of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) allows us to see the evolution of the issues thought necessary for an e-commerce chapter, since both include Canada, and to see the differing priorities of the U.S. and the EU, since they are each signatory to one of the agreements, but not of the other. I conclude by seeking generalizations about why we see a mix of aspirational and obligatory provisions in free trade agreements. I suggest that the reasons are that governments are learning how to work with each other in a new domain, and learning about the trade implications of these issues.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Wolfe, 2018. "Learning about digital trade: Privacy and e-commerce in CETA and TPP," RSCAS Working Papers 2018/27, European University Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:rsc:rsceui:2018/27
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Monteiro, José-Antonio & Teh, Robert, 2017. "Provisions on electronic commerce in regional trade agreements," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2017-11, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    2. repec:nbr:nberch:14012 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Ruggie, John Gerard, 1993. "Territoriality and beyond: problematizing modernity in international relations," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(01), pages 139-174, December.
    4. Avi Goldfarb & Daniel Trefler, 2018. "AI and International Trade," NBER Working Papers 24254, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. repec:oup:jieclw:v:21:y:2018:i:2:p:245-272. is not listed on IDEAS
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    Keywords

    digital trade; electronic commerce; trade agreements;

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