G8 Hails Trade Deals, Nods To WTO, Issues Declaration On Open Data

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Obama, yes we scanIn their traditional communiqué, Group of Eight countries at their annual summit welcomed ongoing efforts to negotiate bilateral and multilateral trade deals which they say will allow them to overcome economic uncertainties and shoulder the responsibility to support prosperity worldwide.

PRISM NSA

A poster at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin (Photo Credit: Digitale Gesellschaft)

Held under the UK presidency at the Northern Ireland town of Eniskillen, this year’s edition of the gathering of world leaders especially noted the “launch of the EU-US trade agreement, the major progress towards agreeing the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the launch of the EU-Japan trade agreement negotiations.”

G8 countries also “were looking forward to the completion of the EU-Canada trade agreement,” they wrote, despite the rather bumpy path CETA has taken.

Regardless of the feisty plurilateral menu, governments still consider the World Trade Organization essential, they wrote. The bilateral deals would be “consistent with and supportive of the WTO framework,” governments underlined, “acting as building blocks for future multilateral agreements in the WTO, which ultimately remain the most effective means of reducing trade barriers globally.” They hope to secure a WTO deal in December, according to the communiqué.

Other issues addressed during the two-day summit besides the top foreign affairs issue of “next steps with regard to Syria,” were tax and transparency policies, including a promise to establish systems to stop tax avoidance and fight the misuse of shell companies to facilitate tax evasion and money laundering. The transparency issue put high on the agenda by UK Prime Minister David Cameron was a new addition.

In an extra “Charter document on open data” the G8 leaders said they would commit to principles like “open data by default”, “releasing data for improved governance” and “releasing data for innovation.” Copyright enforcement, many times on the agenda in the past, was left out this time.

Obama, yes we scan

Protestors finish signs for US demonstration in Berlin (Photo Credit: Digitale Gesellschaft)

An open data declaration amidst the revelations about secret government surveillance programs like PRISM and the UK spying on foreign governments at preceding G8 and G20 meetings to many look rather awkward. State leaders did not mention the scandals that are fed by continuing revelations in their final conclusions.

President Barack Obama will not be able to evade further questions when traveling to Berlin with Chancellor Angela Merkel. The German government has announced it will address the issue. Protesters in Berlin today marched to Checkpoint Charlie, the border between the post-war US-Soviet Berlin, flagging posters like “Yes, we scan” and “You are entering the American sector, your privacy ends here.”

 

Monika Ermert may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

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