Learning About Digital Trade: Privacy and E-Commerce in CETA and TPP

27 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2018

See all articles by Robert Wolfe

Robert Wolfe

Queen's University - School of Policy Studies

Date Written: May 2018


It is a truth universally acknowledged that every ambitious 21st century trade agreement is in want of a chapter on electronic commerce. One of the most politically sensitive and technically challenging issues is personal privacy, including cross-border transfer of information by electronic means, use and location of computing facilities, and personal information protection. States are learning to solve the problem of state responsibility for something that does not respect their borders while still allowing 21st century commerce to develop. A comparison of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) allows us to see the evolution of the issues thought necessary for an e-commerce chapter, since both include Canada, and to see the differing priorities of the U.S. and the EU, since they are each signatory to one of the agreements, but not of the other. I conclude by seeking generalizations about why we see a mix of aspirational and obligatory provisions in free trade agreements. I suggest that the reasons are that governments are learning how to work with each other in a new domain, and learning about the trade implications of these issues.

Keywords: Digital trade; electronic commerce; trade agreements

Suggested Citation

Wolfe, Robert, Learning About Digital Trade: Privacy and E-Commerce in CETA and TPP (May 2018). Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Research Paper No. RSCAS 2018/27, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3188158 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3188158

Robert Wolfe (Contact Author)

Queen's University - School of Policy Studies ( email )

Ontario K7L 3N6

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics