TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) – Cross-border data transactions have become a widespread international business and are expected to serve as a source of economic growth in the future. In January, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, “The engine for growth … is fueled no longer by gasoline, but more and more by digital data.”
In his Davos speech, Abe advocated building a regime of “Data Free Flow with Trust.” At the G20 summit, Japan intends to promote the creation of the “Osaka Track,” a framework for multilateral discussion on rules for the digital economy.
Concerning the digital economy, about 80 willing countries participating in the World Trade Organization are discussing an agreement on electronic commerce. Topics on their agenda include simplifying transactions using the internet and creating common rules and ensuring free cross-border data transaction. At the G20 summit, Japan will encourage further discussion among willing countries.
To achieve free data distribution, it is necessary for each country to establish a system to secure the reliability of information protection. Unless data such as personal information, intellectual property rights and confidential national security information are protected, it will be impossible to promote free data distribution.
The G20 Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Digital Economy held on June 8 in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, agreed on the importance of Data Free Flow with Trust as called for by Japan, while differences in individual motives among countries were highlighted.
The United States, which is home to information technology giants, tends to leave the judgment to each company, while the European Union, which puts emphasis on personal privacy protection, calls on companies to implement strict protection of personal information. In China, the transfer of personal information and important industrial data are restricted by the central government.
The G20 summit will seek compromise, with the different ideas of each country in mind.
In addition, a policy to create new international rules toward stricter taxation of huge IT companies will be confirmed. The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting that ended on June 9 in Fukuoka approved a direction of new rules, such as specifying minimum standard levels of effective corporate tax rates, which show the actual tax burden shouldered by companies. ●
By News Desk
This is the second installment of a four-part series on the summit of the Group of 20 major economies in Osaka.