Post Tagged with: "digital trade"

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Setting the Standard?: How the USMCA Quietly Reshapes Global Digital Trade Agreements

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is more than just an updated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement. With the inclusion of a digital trade chapter, the deal sets a new standard for e-commerce that seems likely to proliferate in similar agreements around the world. My Washington Post op-ed notes that negotiators have touted the benefits of addressing modern forms of commerce, but the reality is that the USMCA digital trade chapter raises many concerns, locking in rules that will hamstring online policies for decades by restricting privacy safeguards and hampering efforts to establish new regulation in the digital environment.

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October 4, 2018 2 comments Columns
Steve Verheul, Chief Trade Negotiator for the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), Canada by Polish Institute of International Affairs (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/jxP85n

Canada’s Lead Negotiator Confirms Government Seeking Net Neutrality Safeguards in NAFTA

Steve Verheul, Canada’s lead NAFTA negotiator, appeared before the Standing Committee on International Trade earlier this week to provide an update on the negotiations. In addition to confirming Canada’s commitment to a cultural exception (Verheul acknowledged that the U.S. “has not reacted positively”), Verheul was asked about the digital trade chapter. He indicated that there has been significant progress on issues such as online consumer protection and privacy.  He also touched on two other issues: one a Canadian ask and the other a U.S. priority.

From a Canadian perspective, Verheul said that Canada wants a net neutrality provision included in NAFTA, noting:

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December 7, 2017 7 comments News
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Canada’s Missing Internet Provision: Why NAFTA Offers the Chance to Establish Long Overdue Online Speech Safeguards

During the earliest days of the commercial Internet, the United States enacted the Communications Decency Act, legislation designed to address two concerns with the rapidly growing online world: the availability of obscene materials and the liability of Internet services hosting third party content. While the obscenity provisions in the 1996 law were quickly struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, the liability rules emerged as a cornerstone of U.S. Internet policy.

The rules, which many regard as the single most important legal protection for free speech on the Internet, establish a safe harbour that ensures online services are not liable for the content posted by their users. My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that over the past two decades, the CDA Section 203(c) provision has been used by every major Internet service – from Google to Amazon to Airbnb – to ensure that courts, not private companies, determine what is lawful and permitted to remain online.

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December 1, 2017 5 comments Columns
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The TPP is Back: My Submission on the Canadian Government’s TPP11 Consultation

The Trans Pacific Partnership, once left for dead after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement, is back with negotiations on a TPP11 (the original agreement featured 12 countries) set to resume next week. With reports indicating that dozens of provisions may be suspended, the Canadian government just concluded a public consultation on the issue.  My full submission is posted below.  It expresses concern with the lack of TPP transparency and provides comments on five substantive areas: dispute settlement, copyright, patents, e-commerce/digital trade, and culture.

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November 2, 2017 1 comment News
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The Government’s Role in E-commerce: My Appearance Before the Standing Committee on International Trade

On the same day that I wrote about the overwhelming volume of hearings, notices, and consultations on digital policy, I also appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade to discuss the role of government policy in fostering the growth of e-commerce. The panel included eBay Canada’s Andrea Stairs (who argued for an increase in the de minimis threshold for consumer imports) and Peter Simons, the CEO of the Simons department store chain (who argued for no de minimis and the application of sales taxes on all purchases regardless of the size or location of the seller). My opening remarks centered on five areas for government action on e-commerce: access to affordable broadband, fostering consumer trust, intermediary liability, intellectual property, and e-commerce in trade agreements.

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October 27, 2017 1 comment Committees, News