United Nations World Data Forum

Monday, April 24, 2023 11:00 AM - 12:27 PM CST (UTC+08:00)
Public Event: CIGI Sponsored (Hybrid)

This virtual panel discussion, organized by CIGI, is part of the United Nations World Data Forum. Members of the public can register for the virtual panels for free.

(Panel TA2.19) New Developments in Governance of Cross-Border Data Flows: Data Strategies and Trade Negotiations

Cross-border data flows are becoming increasingly important in today’s data-based digital economy, but a lack of consensus on approaches for governance of data flows that cross regional, national and international borders is hampering the data-driven digital economy and likely negatively impacting global economic growth. However, there is a glimmer of convergence in the three main governance approaches of China, the European Union and the United States. But there remains substantial path dependence that the data realms will continue to dominate or that new relationships in international data governance outside of free trade agreements could increase the likelihood of fragmentation and competition among various governance regimes.

This session aims to discuss the new developments in governance of cross-border data flows since the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s Digital Economy Report 2021Cross-border data flows and development: For whom the data flow was released in September 2021. Discussion will focus on how and why China may gradually nudge the door open for less strict data regulations, and how the country’s official submissions to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement and possible negotiation could bring changes to its governance approach toward data flows that are more in line with the United States and the European Union.

The panel will also examine some crucial issues in governance of cross-border data flows and discuss possible solutions to them, such as the role that trade agreements can play in seeking creative approaches to compromises on data localization and whether new forms of global cooperation on data governance are required (for example, through competition and privacy policy), as well as how to include developing countries in global policy discussions on governing cross-border data flows. In addition, well-designed and implemented cross-border sandboxes for data can help address challenges facing governance of cross-border data flows by reducing regulatory uncertainty, building capacity within and cooperation among regulators, and increasing regulatory clarity and compliance.

Event Speakers

Susan Ariel Aaronson is a CIGI senior fellow, research professor of international affairs at George Washington University and co-principal investigator with the National Institute of Standards and Technology/National Science Foundation Institute for Trustworthy AI in Law & Society.

Bob is a Senior Fellow and an expert in the field of digital economy research.

Henry Gao is a CIGI senior fellow and a law professor at Singapore Management University.

Xingqiang (Alex) He is a CIGI senior fellow. Alex is an expert on digital governance in China, the Group of Twenty (G20), China and global economic governance, domestic politics in China and their role in China’s foreign economic policy making, and Canada-China economic relations.

Patrick Leblond is a CIGI senior fellow and an expert on economic governance and policy. He is an associate professor and holder of the CN-Paul M. Tellier Chair on Business and Public Policy at the University of Ottawa.

Lorrayne Porciuncula leads the Datasphere Initiative, incubated and catalyzed by the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network.

Hanzhi Yu is a CIGI senior fellow and a research fellow in the Department of Political Science, School of Public Affairs, at Zhejiang University, China.