Commons International Trade Committee launches inquiry on digital trade and data

December 18, 2020

The House of Commons International Trade Select Committee is holding an inquiry into digital trade and data. 

Digital trade refers to digitally enabled, or digitally delivered, trade in goods and services. Such trade involves the movement of data.  

The Committee’s inquiry will explore a range of issues, including digital trade and data provisions in Free Trade Agreements, concerns around the security and privacy of data, the environmental impact of digital trade, and the relevant legal frameworks. 

The terms of reference for the inquiry are:

  • What are the main barriers faced by UK businesses engaging in digital trade? 
  • What opportunities does digital trade present for UK businesses?
  • How does the regulation of digital trade impact consumers? 
  • What approach(es) should the UK take to negotiating digital and data provisions – including those concerning the free flow of data, protection for personal data, net neutrality, data localisation, and intellectual property– in its future trade agreements?
  • What does the UK-Japan Agreement indicate about the UK’s approach to digital trade and data provisions in future trade negotiations?
  • What approach should the UK take towards renewing the WTO’s moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions? 
  • What objectives should the UK have when negotiating digital and data provisions during its accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership?
  • Will the global increase in digital trade affect the environment in a positive or negative way? What steps can be taken to mitigate any negative environmental impacts of increased digital trade?
  • What domestic and international law is relevant to the UK government’s approach to digital trade?

The consultation ends on 12 February 2020.