Governing Digital Trade and Data Flows

International trade is increasingly digital, relying on cross-border data flows and access to digital technologies such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence.  Yet, data flows and access to digital technologies are increasingly being restricted by governments for various reasons, including to protect personal data, strengthen cybersecurity and at times to protect domestic industry from competition. Digital trade and access to technology is also central to rising US-China economic tensions, and developments here will also affect cross-border data flows. This deep dive will explain how data is transforming international trade, assess the impact of regulations such as privacy and cybersecurity on cross-border data flows, provide a solid grounding in how international trade law governs digital trade and access to data, look at where new digital trade governance is needed and what can be expected.  
Who will benefit from this Deep Dive?
Officials in government and international organizations 
Officials working on digital trade issues, including in areas such as privacy, security, and in developing policies for technologies relying on cross-border data flows such as AI and cloud computing.
Private sector public policy teams
People responsible for formulating and executing public policy outcomes for their companies with respect to digital trade, addressing barriers to cross-border data flows and seeking interoperability that enables data flows between countries.
Non-government organizations and non-profits
People engaged in developing and advocating policy solutions for the digital economy, including with respect to privacy, cybersecurity and law enforcement.
Here Is What You Will Learn  
How cross-border data flows are transforming international trade
Learn how data flows are transforming international trade in areas such as ecommerce, services and global value chains.    
The economic importance of digital trade
Understand the economic value of data flows, including the importance of data for digital technologies such as AI, cloud computing and the internet of things.  
Why governments are restricting cross-border data flows
Learn about the growing government restrictions globally on cross-border data flows and why this happening.
A focused discussion on how privacy goals can restrict digital trade  
Learn about how domestic privacy regulation can affect digital trade and data flows, and how global privacy regimes can enable interoperability.
The geo-strategic tensions affecting digital trade
This will include a focus on how US-China relations affect cross-border data flows as well as divergent approaches to digital trade regulation in key economies such as the U.S., the EU and Japan.
The application of international trade law to digital trade  
Learn about the rules and norms being developed to govern digital trade and data flows, including in trade agreements and international forum such as the G20, the G7 and the OECD.
What our students are saying
I have developed a big picture understanding of digital trade, which will help me in my job working at APEC, including how APEC discussions fit more broadly into global discussions.

Loraine Ashcroft
National Center for APEC
This Deep Dive gives you the state of the art of digital trade.

 Manuel Quindimil
American Chamber of Commerce of Peru
This Deep Dive really broadened my understanding of the connection between trade and digital technologies based on digital data flows, as well as understanding the dependence of supply chains and ecommerce platforms on data flows.  

Judy Dobbs
Royal Bank of Canada
This Deep Dive has improved my understanding of forms of governance for digital trade and AI.

 Johannes Schwartz
The European Free Trade Association  

Governing Digital Trade and Data Flows   
Length: 3 weeks
Dates: 16 October - 1 November, 2023
Cost: $850

Format and Content
  • No need to take time off work - content is  released every couple of days so you can watch at your own pace.
  • Approx. 5hrs of total video (divided into 30 minute segments) released every 1-2 days.
  • Three live lectures with expert Joshua P. Meltzer that are recorded and made available to all participants
  • You also get access to all videos and the recorded live lectures for this Deep Dive for four weeks after the end of Deep Dive.
  • Group discussion and exercises  
  • A Policyware certificate in Governing Digital Trade and Data Flows.
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Joshua P. Meltzer
Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution 

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Meet Your Expert
Dr. Joshua Paul Meltzer
Dr. Meltzer is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., where his research focuses on the digital trade, emerging technologies including AI and the trade law and regulatory implications of cross-border data flows, including for privacy and cybersecurity.  At Brookings, Meltzer leads the Digital Economy and Trade Project and co-leads the Forum on Cooperation in AI. Meltzer has testified before the U.S. Congress, the U.S. International Trade Commission and the European Parliament. He was an expert witness in Schrems II litigation in the EU, and a consultant to the World Bank on trade and privacy matters. Meltzer is a member of Australia’s National Data Advisory Council and the National AI Action Programs Committee. Meltzer teaches digital trade law at Melbourne University and at the University of Toronto, where he is an adjunct professor. Meltzer also teaches ecommerce and digital trade at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office diplomatic academy. Additional academic appointments have included as an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies where he taught international trade and at McGill University.  Before joining Brookings, Meltzer was posted as a diplomat at the Australian Embassy in Washington D.C. and prior to that he was an international trade negotiator in Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Meltzer regularly appears in print and news media, including the Economist, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, Bloomberg, MSNBC, CBS, Fox, the Asahi Shimbun and China Daily. Meltzer holds an S.J.D. and LL.M. from the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor and law and commerce degrees from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.