November 7, 2018 - CSI Participation at the USITC Services Roundtable
On November 7, CSI President Christine Bliss represented CSI at the annual USITC Services Roundtable. This year’s roundtable focused on: 1) the impact of goods-related trade rules and cross-cutting trade disciplines on services trade; and 2) differences in the services economies of developed and developing economies.
On the first topic, Roundtable participants noted the importance of IPR, e-commerce, investment, customs, TBT, and SOE disciplines to services sectors. They also commented on the importance of combatting efforts by Indonesia and potentially other developing countries to end the WTO moratorium on e-commerce duties and to impose duties on digital content. Another participant suggested that the TBT rules should apply to services to discourage mandatory use of country-specific standards. The discussion also covered the issue of taxation of digital trade such as those proposed by Spain, Italy and the UK based on where a firm earns revenue, as well as the inadequacy of WTO rules on investment and digital trade. In addition, several participants spoke about the need to improve services trade data and analysis, particularly with respect to data localization and internet fragmentation.
In that regard, Christine commented on the failure to capture the overall value of cross-border services trade and investment which within a single services firm may involve the cross-border supply of a service, the associated cross-border data, and the supply of a service through commercial presence. Other participants noted the importance of more than one mode of supply in sectors such as retail and insurance. Christine highlighted the importance of cross-cutting disciplines on digital trade and investment to all services sectors, noting the necessity of ensuring cross-border data flows and prohibitions on data localization.
On the second topic, participants mentioned the need to counterbalance the EU effort to convince developing countries to adopt its GDPR as a template for privacy regulation. Other participants mentioned the severity of data localization requirements in the financial services sector, particularly in India and Indonesia. Participants also encouraged the ITC to look at models of regulatory cooperation in the financial services sector in the USMCA and the U.S.-EU FTA as possible models to use in other services sectors.