Digital Trade: Is Data Treaty-Ready?

17 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2018 Last revised: 5 Feb 2018

See all articles by Dan Ciuriak

Dan Ciuriak

Ciuriak Consulting Inc.; Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI); C.D. Howe Institute; Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada; BKP Development Research & Consulting GmbH

Date Written: January 20, 2018


The knowledge-based and data-driven economy represents a new stage in the evolution of the economy, with transformative impacts on how goods and services are developed, produced, traded across borders, distributed, and consumed. Data is the essential capital of this new economic age as it enables the development of artificial intelligence, which drives the transformation of how technology transforms. The powerful network externalities and steep economies of scale and scope which characterize this new economic age raise economic governance concerns in terms of income distribution, corporate concentration, and the ability of countries to participate and capture benefits. Meanwhile, the power implicit in access to and control of data raises a plethora of concerns over personal privacy, social manipulation, influence over elections, and security. Since cross-border data flows are integral to international trade, trade agreements are entering into the regulation of data. However, as we are only at the dawn of this new era, it is a legitimate question as to whether the regulation of data is treaty-ready and what sorts of flexibilities need to be retained to enable appropriate policy responses as necessary.

Keywords: Digital Trade, Data, Artificial Intelligence, E-commerce

JEL Classification: F13, F15

Suggested Citation

Ciuriak, Dan, Digital Trade: Is Data Treaty-Ready? (January 20, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Dan Ciuriak (Contact Author)

Ciuriak Consulting Inc. ( email )

83 Stewart St.
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6H9

Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) ( email )

57 Erb Street West
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6C2

C.D. Howe Institute ( email )

67 Yonge St., Suite 300
Toronto, Ontario M5E 1J8

Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada ( email )



BKP Development Research & Consulting GmbH ( email )

Romanstrasse 74
M√ľnchen, 80639

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