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    U.S. Calls Out Canadian Data Protection as a Trade Barrier

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    Wednesday April 02, 2014
    The U.S. Trade Representative issued its annual Foreign Trade Barrier Report on Monday. In addition to identifying the geographical indications provisions in the Canada - EU Trade Agreement, telecom foreign ownership rules, and Canadian content regulations as barriers, the USTR discussed regulations on cross-border data flows. I wrote about the issue recently, noting that the Canadian government restricted access to its single email initiative to Canadian-based hosting.

    The USTR picks up on the same issue in its report:

    The strong growth of cross-border data flows resulting from widespread adoption of broadband-based services in Canada and the United States has refocused attention on the restrictive effects of privacy rules in two Canadian provinces, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia. These provinces mandate that personal information in the custody of a public body must be stored and accessed only in Canada unless one of a few limited exceptions applies. These laws prevent public bodies such as primary and secondary schools, universities, hospitals, government-owned utilities, and public agencies from using U.S. services when personal information could be accessed from or stored in the United States.
     
    The Canadian federal government is consolidating information technology services across 63 email systems under a single platform. The request for proposals for this project includes a national security exemption which prohibits the contracted company from allowing data to go outside of Canada. This policy precludes some new technologies such as "cloud" computing providers from participating in the procurement process. The public sector represents approximately one-third of the Canadian economy, and is a major consumer of U.S. services. In today’s information-based economy, particularly where a broad range of services are moving to "cloud" based delivery where U.S. firms are market leaders; this law hinders U.S. exports of a wide array of products and services.

    This issue bears watching given the growing momentum for localized data hosting conflicting with provisions in the Trans Pacific Partnership that would seek to restrict such provisions.
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    Copyright Lobby Groups Want Canada Back on Piracy Watch List

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    Thursday February 14, 2013
    The IIPA, the umbrella lobby group that represents the major movie, music, and entertainment software lobby groups, released its recommendations for the U.S. piracy watch list last week.  Those that thought passing Bill C-11 - the Canadian copyright reform bill that contained some of the most restrictive digital lock rules in the world - would satisfy U.S. groups will be disappointed. The IIPA wants Canada back on the piracy watch list, one notch below the Special Watch List (where the US placed Canada last year).


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    USTR Launches Consultation on Canada's Entry to TPP

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    Monday July 23, 2012
    The USTR has launched a public consultation on Canada's proposed entry to the Trans Pacific Partnership talks.The deadline for comments is September 4, 2012. A hearing is scheduled for September 24, 2012.
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    Canada Excluded From Next Round of TPP Negotiations

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    Monday July 16, 2012
    When the U.S. invited Canada to join the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations last month, there was an agreed upon delay to allow it to complete a domestic approval process. As part of that delay, Canada was to be excluded from the negotiations during the approval period and bound by any substantive agreements reached during those talks. While most assumed that would only cover the just-completed San Diego round of discussions, it turns out that Canada will be excluded from the next round of negotiations as well. The USTR sent the formal letter to include Canada in the TPP to Congress on July 10, 2012. Last week, it also announced that the next round of negotiations will take place in early September in Virginia. Given the 90-day waiting period from the date of the USTR letter, Canada will also be excluded from this round of negotiations and will have to wait until December to formally participate in the talks.
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