India boycotted the "Osaka Track" on digital economy at the G20 leaders' summit in Osaka last week, because it reportedly undermines multilateral negotiating processes based on consensus-based decision-making in global trade negotiations, and denies policy space regarding digital economy to developing countries. Along with India, Indonesia and South Africa also boycotted the Osaka Track. Developing countries have consistently demanded that negotiations on digital economy/e-commerce must be carried out on the basis of the 1998 WTO Work programme. Countries including the EU, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, UK, USA, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam signed the "Osaka Track", a framework for promoting cross-border data flow with enhanced protections for intellectual property, personal information, and cybersecurity. Japan circulated a text on digital trade to all G20 countries on June 26 seeking their approval of the Osaka Track for promoting plurilateral negotiations among 50 countries. The US, EU, Australia, Singapore, and Japan among others reportedly pushed hard for these plurilateral negotiations on digital trade, which is intended to introduce sweeping rules on data flows, removal of prohibitions on data localisation, and cloud computing, among other things. The 50 signatories of Osaka Track describe it as “our commitment to promote international policy discussions, inter alia, international rule-making on trade-related aspects of electronic commerce at the WTO”. The countries said the agreement was a reiteration of the Joint Statement on E-commerce released at the World Economic Forum at Davos in January 2019. The countries committed to achieving a “high standard agreement” with the participation of “as many…
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