Trade ministers from the Group of Seven wealthy nations
agreed on principles to govern cross-border data use and digital trade at a
meeting in London on Friday.

The deal establishes a middle ground between highly
regulated data protection laws used in European countries and the United States’ more open approach.

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“We oppose digital protectionism and authoritarianism
and today we have adopted the G7 Digital Trade Principles that will guide the
G7’s approach to digital trade,” Britain said in a statement reported by Reuters.

Digital trade is defined as trading in commodities and
services that are enabled or provided digitally and includes anything from film
and television distribution to professional services.

According to a government examination of official
statistics, remote delivered trade in the United Kingdom was valued at 326 billion
pounds ($448.09 billion) in 2019, accounting for a quarter of all trade.

Different standards controlling the use of consumer data, on
the other hand, can create major hurdles, especially for small and medium-sized
enterprises, who find compliance difficult and expensive.

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The agreement is a first step toward lowering such obstacles,
and it might lead to a shared digital trade rulebook.

According to the statement, the principles addressed open
digital markets, cross-border data flows, worker, consumer, and business
protections, digital trading systems, and fair and inclusive global governance.

“We should address unjustified obstacles to
cross-border data flows while continuing to address privacy, data protection,
intellectual property rights protection, and security,” the document’s
annex stated.

“This agreement is a genuine breakthrough that is the
result of hard diplomatic graft,” a British official familiar with the
deal said.

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“All of us rely on digital trade every day, but for
years the global rules of the game have been a wild west that have made it
difficult for businesses to seize the immense opportunities on offer.”

The G7 consists of the US, Japan, Germany, the United
, France, Italy, and Canada.