Digitrade Digest #89


Indo-Pacific trade negotiators flock to Bali

Politico: U.S. trade officials are in Bali, Indonesia, this week for the latest round of negotiations over the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.

The Commerce Department and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative have each dispatched delegates for this set of talks, which will cover all four of the agreement’s pillars: trade, supply chains, clean energy and taxes. The talks begin today and conclude March 19.

The 13 countries participating in the IPEF negotiations have already floated text for many parts of the agreement, and it’s expected that even more proposals will be put on the table in the coming days. U.S. officials are pressing forward with an aggressive timeline that would see much of the agreement finished before the end of the year.

Digital deal: Several industry groups are specifically eager to see progress on the chapter dedicated to digital trade. That’s expected to be one of the more consequential but also contentious parts of the pact as negotiators forge an agreement that accommodates countries at varying stages of development.

Jason Oxman, president and CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council, said in a statement that IPEF represents “an important forum for the United States to push for strong digital trade commitments.” Those commitments should cover data flows, technical standards, tech supply chains and more, the group argues.

Bits from Bali: Are you reading this newsletter from an Indonesian hotel room because you’re participating in or observing the talks? Your host back in chilly Washington would love to get the download from on the ground. Drop me a note.


EU and Thailand relaunch trade negotiations

ec.europa: Today, the EU and Thailand announced the relaunch of negotiations for an ambitious, modern and balanced free trade agreement (FTA), with sustainability at its core. This announcement confirms the key importance of the Indo-Pacific region for the EU trade agenda, paving the way for deeper trade ties with the second largest economy in South-East Asia and further strengthening the EU’s strategic engagement with this burgeoning region.

The aim of the FTA will be to boost trade and investment by addressing a wide range of issues such as: market access for goods, services, investment and government procurement; swift and effective Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary procedures; the protection of intellectual property rights including Geographical Indications, and the removal of obstacles to digital trade and trade in energy and raw materials, thereby supporting the digital and green transitions. Sustainability will also be at the heart of this agreement, with robust and enforceable disciplines on Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD). These will be in line with the Commission’s TSD review Communication of June 2022, supporting high levels of protection for workers’ rights, for the environment, and the achievement of ambitious climate goals.


Joint Statement from the 13th U.S.-Japan Policy Cooperation Dialogue on the Internet Economy

USDepttofState: The United States and Japan renewed their shared commitment to open, interoperable, reliable, and secure digital connectivity and information and communication technologies to support growth of the digital economy during the 13th meeting of the U.S.-Japan Policy Cooperation Dialogue on the Internet Economy, hosted in hybrid format by the United States on March 6 and 7, 2023.

The dialogue included discussions with private sector representatives from both countries on the promotion of open, interoperable, and secure fifth generation (5G) wireless technologies, networks, and services; public-private partnerships to support the development of the digital economy in third countries; international coordination in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), data protection and privacy, the free flow of data, advancing digital freedom, and cybersecurity capacity building; public-private collaboration to foster public trust and support for responsible stewardship of the Internet and digital connectivity; and use of information and communications technology (ICT) that contributes to green and sustainable growth. The U.S. and Japanese governments also welcomed a joint statement submitted to them by private sector representatives from the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan and Keidanren.

Both countries recognized the importance of promoting the development and deployment of open, secure, and resilient 5G networks in advanced and emerging economies to ensure countries, companies, and citizens can trust that firms providing equipment, software, and services will support the development of the digital economy, while strengthening cybersecurity and protecting privacy, intellectual property rights, digital freedom, and human rights. Both countries recognized the importance of promoting secure and reliable global submarine cable networks and continuing relevant information exchanges on their development and deployment. Both countries also reaffirmed their commitment to an inclusive, open, and transparent system of Internet governance based on multi-stakeholder models.