Governments Must Provide More Transparency In Trade Negotiations, Coalition Says At IGF 19/12/2017 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 2 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The Internet Governance Forum Dynamic Coalition on Trade and the Internet, a group formed in 2016, held its formal inaugural meeting today and adopted a resolution on transparency in trade negotiations, in particular on trade rules that affect the online and digital environment. Jeremy Malcolm, Senior Global Policy Analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (left) The Dynamic Coalition on Trade and the Internet stems from a previous initiative called the Open Trade Digital Trade Network, Jeremy Malcolm, senior global policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), said today at the inaugural session. The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) organised by the United Nations is taking place in Geneva from 17-21 December. The Resolution on Transparency states principles on transparency and consultation, and provides a list of five recommendations essentially aimed at governments: “. Countries should publish their own textual proposals on rules in ongoing international trade negotiations at the same time as these proposals are presented to their negotiating partners, . Countries engaged in trade negotiations should agree to publish consolidated texts after each round of ongoing negotiations, . Trade ministries should act transparently by publishing records of their meetings with stakeholders, and should be overseen by an independent transparency officer, subject to statutory confidentiality and non-disclosure standards, . Domestic consultations on textual proposals should be opened up to the public through on-the-record notice and comment, and public hearing processes at relevant points during the development of textual proposals, . Countries should make trade advisory bodies more balanced by taking proactive steps to include more diverse legitimate stakeholders such as representatives of Internet users, and organisations working in the areas of human rights, development, media, and consumer issues.” The Dynamic Coalition on Trade and the Internet also published a background paper providing an overview of digital trade frameworks, a description of several plurilateral and mega-regional trade agreements. This includes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the document says was the first trade agreement to include binding commitments that facilitate cross-border information flows and limit digital protectionism. The background paper also addresses a number of issues such as custom duties, intellectual property rights, data exclusivity for test data, the expansion of copyright terms, trade secrets, domain names, and digital rights management. Malcolm said the Dynamic Coalition on Trade and the Internet fulfilled its original 2017 action plan, including the background paper, and developing a multi-stakeholder approach facilitating the transparency and inclusiveness in international trade negotiations and the domestic consultation processes. Malcolm said the dynamic coalition now has 42 members, but just one government on board. William Drake, international fellow and lecturer in the Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research at the University of Zurich, speaking from the audience said the Dynamic Coalition on Trade and the Internet needs to reach more players, such as people from the internet technical and business communities. In the audience, a World Trade Organization representative said the WTO is doing a lot to be more transparent. Many governments now ask that the papers they table are made public documents. WTO technical assistance also finds that there are multi-stakeholder groups in capital that are consulted for negotiations, she said. But meetings of WTO members remain closed to civil society, the private sector, media, and even some other international organisations, unlike at neighboring international organisations like the World Intellectual Property Organization or the World Health Organization. Image Credits: Catherine Saez Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."Governments Must Provide More Transparency In Trade Negotiations, Coalition Says At IGF" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.