India is not in a position to accept the concept of data free flow with confidence: Piyush Goyal

India is not in a position to accept the concept of data free flow with confidence: Piyush Goyal

New Delhi: India is not in a position to accept the concept of data free flow with confidence (DFFT) as it is neither well understood nor comprehensive in the law of many countries, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal Said on Tuesday.
He said that in view of the huge digital divide between countries, there is a need for policy space for developing countries which still have to finalize the laws surrounding digital trade and data.
The minister was speaking at the virtual meeting of the G-20 trade and investment ministers.
He said that data is a powerful tool for development, and judicious use of data is an important aspect for India.
Like many other developing countries, India is still in the stage of preparing a framework for its data protection and e-commerce laws, he said.
“The current rules that DFFT has sought, such as uninterrupted cross-border flow of data, are insufficient to address our concerns over data access,” Goyal said.
The minister said that it could further increase the digital divide.
He said that India, along with some other G20 members, did not participate in the Osaka track due to their reservations last year.
“India is not in a position to accept the concept of DFFT,” he said.
On the issue of multilateral trading system, Goyal said that it should be fair, transparent and balanced.
He said reforms should preserve fundamental principles such as non-discrimination, inclusiveness, recognition of special and differential treatment, and consensus-based decision making.
“We must recognize that the WTO (World Trade Organization) is a member-led organization, and the G-20 should not appear to be an agenda of infiltration and driving for a multilateral trade system.
“Rather, our priority should be to correct asymmetries and imbalances in the existing business system,” the minister said.
In addition, it is important to recognize the important role of small retailers in maintaining the food chain and necessary supplies to help sustain life and economic activity through the COVID-19 epidemic, Goyal said.

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