EU needs digital trade strategy

Press release

Today, the INTA-committee approved the Digital Trade Strategy Report by MEP Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66). 

Norm-makers vs norm takers

Marietje Schaake (D66/ALDE): “We risk ending up as a rules-takers instead of rules-makers if we do not act now. We cannot afford to lose time, when private companies like Alibaba are proposing the creation of virtual free trade zones, and NAFTA-countries are negotiating digital trade chapters in NAFTA 2.0. The EU should take the lead in shaping values-based rules for digital trade.”  

Countering protectionism 2.0

Schaake: “In an interconnected world there can be no place for digital protectionism. New barriers such as unjustified forced data localisation measures, or forcing companies to hand over the source codes of their products, should be prevented.”  

Data flows

Data is the backbone for the new economy, yet the European Commission has not been able to present a position on cross-border data transfers and unjustified data localisation requirements.

Schaake: “Time is running out. We urge the Commission to adopt as soon as possible an EU position that allows us to attack data protectionism in third countries while fully respecting our own data protection standards. This also requires increased transparency for the adequacy decision process. We need public and detailed binding procedures for reaching these decisions.”  

Digital rights

Schaake believes the EU has a unique change to promote digital rights in digital trade chapters of trade agreements. She is working on ensuring the rule of law integrally applies online.

Schaake: “Trade rules should help to improve digital rights through provisions on net neutrality, forced data localisation, encryption and intermediary liability protections in trade agreements. That way, they can have a strongly beneficial impact on the protection of freedom of speech.”