27 October 2019: Postdoctoral Fellow Neha Mishra Presents Paper at Biennial Asian Economic Law Network Conference
Postdoctoral Fellow Neha Mishra presented her paper titled ‘International Trade Law and Data Ethics: Possibilities and Challenges’ at the 6th Biennial Asian Economic Law Network Conference. The conference was held in Taipei on 25–27 October and was organised by National Tsing-Hua University; Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan; Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, National Tsing Hua University; and The Erasmus+ Program of the European Union.
Ms Mishra argued that the inherent tension between promoting data/digital innovation and ensuring ethical data management is likely to surface in international trade law, and is particularly prominent when data restrictive measures are examined under exceptions in international trade agreements. This tension appears irresolvable due to the technological uncertainty surrounding the future evolution and uses of AI and Big Data and the absence of international norms on data governance. Although international trade law cannot directly resolve these tensions, trade policymakers should remain open and responsive to relevant policy dialogues on data governance in various governmental and multistakeholder fora. Ms Mishra argued that by doing so, international trade law can play a more proactive and transformative role in dealing with ethical issues in data governance—addressing not only infrastructure-related issues (eg, access to telecommunications networks) but also regulatory concerns such as facilitating international cooperation on data policies, supporting internationally recognised internet standards, promoting fair competition and transparency in domestic data policies, and ensuring digital inclusion of developing countries. Trade rules should also not require countries to compromise on their data policies necessary for ethical reasons so as to participate in global digital markets. Although these outcomes appear ambitious, the ongoing dialogues at WTO on electronic commerce provide an opportunity to generate political goodwill and enhance cooperation among countries to achieve these results.