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DEC 14, 2021 | GLOBAL

BSA Welcomes WTO JSI Outcomes on Open Government Data, E-Signatures

WASHINGTON – December 14, 2021 – BSA | The Software Alliance applauds today’s announcement by Australia, Japan, and Singapore regarding negotiating progress among the 86 countries participating in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Joint Statement Initiative on Electronic Commerce. The WTO JSI e-commerce co-convenors’ announcement signals growing convergence towards outcomes in eight areas of the digital economy, namely: open government data, consumer protection online, spam, electronic signatures and e-authentication, e-contracts, transparency, paperless trading, and open internet access.

“Negotiating outcomes in areas such as electronic signatures and e-authentication will help speed digital transformation and provide real benefits across industries,” said Joseph Whitlock, Director, Policy at BSA. “Electronic signatures facilitate commercial transactions and streamline legal processes, especially between parties in different parts of the world that need access to trustworthy and verifiable digital processes to do business with one another in real time. These outcomes are a significant step forward for the digital economy.”

“There is still important work ahead,” Whitlock added. “For the next phase of JSI negotiations to be commercially meaningful, the negotiating Parties should strive for high-ambition outcomes on data transfers, data localization, source code protections, cybersecurity, and privacy. We welcome the co-convenors’ renewed commitment to intensifying negotiations on these areas with the aim to reach convergence by the end of 2022. BSA stands ready to work with WTO negotiators to navigate these vital issues.”

The JSI co-convenors’ announcement also notes that there has been some successful “consolidation of text proposals in other areas, including on ... cross-border data flows, data localisation, [and] source code[.] We will intensify negotiations in these areas from early 2022. We note that provisions that enable and promote the flow of data are key to high standard and commercially meaningful outcome[s].” BSA supports the perspectives expressed by Japan that digital trade is “one of the key areas for the WTO as an organization that promotes global trade,” and that it is critical to “achieve a high-standard outcome, including on the rules of free flow of data.”

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BSA | The Software Alliance (www.bsa.org) is the leading advocate for the global software industry before governments and in the international marketplace. Its members are among the world’s most innovative companies, creating software solutions that help businesses of all sizes in every part of the economy to modernize and grow.

With headquarters in Washington, DC, and operations in more than 30 countries, BSA pioneers compliance programs that promote legal software use and advocates for public policies that foster technology innovation and drive growth in the digital economy.

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