Three Digital Kingdoms

Henry Gao from Singapore Management University visited IIT from 13-15 August and gave a presentation on “Three Digital Kingdoms” – the EU, US and China – to shed light on Data Regulation in Trade Agreements for our seminar series on current issues in international trade.

Professor Gao’s current work on digital trade, CPTPP, and the Belt and Road initiative also featured in discussions with trade professionals and researchers at IIT and Adelaide Law School, including several of the Faculty’s Ph.D. students from China, Indonesia and Latin America.

IIT Executive Director Peter Draper moderated the outreach event, which featured Keith Wilson, Senior International Trade Law Counsellor at IIT, and the Law School’s Dr Rebecca La Forgia, with participation from government, business and the wider University community. The differing approaches in the ‘3 Kingdoms’ present crucial challenges, and potential conflicts, in finding a balance between open cross-border data flows in international trade and implementation of legitimate regulatory purposes.

The huge explosion in the quantum and value of data are outpacing the capacity of existing trade frameworks to adapt in a timely fashion to 21st century developments. Cloud computing storage and transfer issues, the Internet of Things connecting devices personally and globally, Artificial Intelligence, and Big Data analytics are creating an urgent need for regional, plurilateral and ultimately multilateral solutions.


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