80. Data as a stock-in-trade in global trade: Looking beyond outdated notions around data flows

Friday, 1 October 2021, 10:00 - 11:00 CEST

A session at the WTO Public Forum.


  • Gita Sen, DAWN, General Coordinator
  • Vahini Naidu, Coordinator, Trade for Development Program, South Centre
  • Parminder Jeet Singh, Executive Director, IT for Change
  • Ingrid Schneider, University of Hamburg, Professor, Department of Political Sciences
  • Sofia Scasserra, Associate Researcher, Transnational Institute

Data is universally spoken of as the key economic resource today. Strangely enough, this is not the way data is treated in global digital trade discussions. This paradox is the reason for the global stalemate on the ‘data issue’, inadequately represented as a contest between ‘data flows’ and ‘data constraints’, respectively as good and bad things. Progress can only be made by bringing centre-stage in ‘e-com discussions’ data’s nature as a prime economic resource in a digital economy. Continually discussing data only in terms of privacy, security, trade facilitation, etc., is no longer adequate. Earlier mostly a developing countries’ concern, recent policy developments in some developed countries also highlight the need for focusing directly on economic dimensions of data at the WTO. This Working Session seeks to do so by bringing in experts from both the South and the North. How can we move beyond unhelpful binaries of data flows and data constraints in digital trade debates and re-centre the data governance question on the nature of data as an economic resource? Join us.

Organized by: Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN); Transnational Institute (TNI); New Economics Foundation (NEF), UK; IT for Change (ITfC), India; Instituto del Tercer Mundo (Third World Institute) (ITeM), Uruguay