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The Role of Digital Products Under the WTO: A New Framework for GATT and GATS Classification

Sam Fleuter  Abstract This Comment provides a new system of classifying digital products as goods or services under international trade law. Under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), WTO member states have limited power to impose protectionist measures on the importation of goods. Under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), states face similar limitations on their ability to restrict international trade in services. But GATS only applies if states opt in, meaning that countries can choose which services are subject to trade liberalization. Within the GATT-GATS framework, digital products are notoriously difficult to classify because they possess traditional characteristics of both goods and services. Though this Comment applies to different types of digital products, it focuses on the international trade of 3D renderings used for additive manufacturing, as this is a type of digital product that has not received any attention in international trade literature. This Comment proposes a three-part taxonomy for distinguishing digital goods from digital services. To distinguish goods from services, I first look at formalistic definitions of good and services. Next, I look at practical concerns of consistency across international trade. Finally, I investigate the underlying goals of the WTO to identify which classification best suits digital products. I conclude that digital products should be treated as services and therefore be governed by the GATS.

Weaponizing Digital Trade.

from Councilo on Foreign Relations, which is a private non-democratic non governmental group that, like the Atlantic Council often takes extreme neoliberal positions and often, tries to look like part of the government, and pretend that neoliberalism is inevitable and, its assertions credible. As the last few years have shown, people are beginning to realize that if the world has democracy, then it has a choice to reject neoliberalism and neoliberals greed centered global coup. They don't own us.

Australia's Cashless debit card. is it courtesy of US mega-corporations too? The cashless push seems scary, with potential to create totalitarianistic prisons for the soul where poor people are considered potentially guilty of crime simply for being poor. Is this the future under neoliberalism?

On his web site, Norbert Haering.de Germaan economist and journalist Norbert Haering has been examining the push to make us cashless with a critical eye. Cashless Cities are designed to exclude and expel the poor from the glittering showcase Pyongyangs of the world, where people live in a Paradise and nobody speaks of rampant poverty. "Don't say no, or you'll have to go" as British musician Siouxsie Sioux once sang. not so different than in the real life, North Korea. the reluctant to spend risk exile by the Googles of the surveillance state. . Other Policies like clawback are designed to cause stress and perhaps change or manipulate emotional state. Multilateralism, the ideology we never voted for but get nomatter what we want, along with an ever-rising level of repressive policies Including tactics intended to get people to buy more. A humiliation of poor people whose self-esteem is already low.

Jane Kelsey on E - commerce - The development implications of 'future proofing' global trade rules for GAFA

The World Trade Or ganization (WTO) General Council established a Work Programme on Electronic Commerce in September 1998 t o examine all trade - related issues arising from electronic commerce , taking into account the economic, financial, and development needs of developing countries. 1 Consistent with Article III.2 of the Marrakesh Agreement, 2 electronic commerce was defined in terms of its trade characteristics, with discussions to be conducted through the bodies responsible for the relevant WTO instruments 3 and supplemented by ad hocdedicated discussions at the General Council. The work programme identified many critical issues, especially on trade in services, but languished in recent years. In 2016, the issue of electronic commerce was brought to life with gusto as the US, Japan and the European Union initiated moves that were clearly designed to secure a mandate for formal negotiations at the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Their proposals go far beyond traditional notions of trade and would see the WTO adopt binding and enforceable rules that restrict how governments can regulate the digital domain. This paper first examines the drivers behind the push for electronic commerce to become the major ‘new issue’ adopted in a post - Doha round WTO. It th en assesses the development implications of the new e - commerce agenda for the WTO acquis, with particular reference to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Four interrelated factors underpin this new focus on electronic commerce. The first is the pre - eminence of the mega - corporations from Silicon Valley, symbolised by the acronym GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple), who by 2010 had displaced the old industrial giants as the world’s largest corporations. With their rise in corporate power came greatly enhanced political influence in the US Congress and in the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) . The industry’s wish-list of global rules became the US agenda in the relevant negotiating forums. The second factor is the growing threat posed by China to the dominance that both GAFA and the US had established over the digital economy, as China refocuses its domestic economy on services and technology and expands internationally through the One Belt One Road initiative and its digital component led by Alibaba. Other countries in the global South are also exploring strategies to close the digital divide and catch- up through digital industrialisation. That strategy commonly includes technology transfer, support for domestic start-ups and attracting joint venture investments, while balancing their social, employment and economic development objectives.