Until recently, policy makers and businesses did not adequately focus on the significant overlap between Internet and trade governance, but with a large and increasing presence of the Internet in global trade and investment, there is a growing interest in examining the synergy or conflict arising between these issues. There is a need to identify trade rules and practices that are sufficient to deal with emerging issues, and the new trade rules, modes of common understanding and cooperative mechanisms that would be required as the Internet becomes a larger part of the trade and investment domain.

An important part of this exercise is to examine the relevance and sufficiency of the regulatory provisions in the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements as well as the emerging major free trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This paper discusses these aspects as well as the new trade-related concerns that need to be addressed, including the difficulty of determining jurisdiction and rules of origin, the classification of products and relevant disciplines applicable to them, complications arising for competition policy and regulatory practices

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The Global Commission on Internet Governance was established in January 2014 to articulate and advance a strategic vision for the future of Internet governance. The two-year project conducted and supported independent research on internet-related dimensions of global public policy, culminating in an official commission report that articulates concrete policy recommendations for the future of Internet governance.
  • Harsha Vardhana Singh is a senior associate of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, and a senior fellow of the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

  • Ahmed Abdel-Latif is a special assistant for policy and programme in the Office of the Director General for the International Renewable Energy Agency.

  • L. Lee Tuthill is a counsellor in the Trade in Services Division of the World Trade Organization.