Free flow of data proposed at G20 trade, digital economy meeting

The Yomiuri Shimbun Trade and digital economy ministers of the Group of 20 major economies on Saturday began a two-day meeting in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture.

Amid the intensifying frictions between the United States and China over trade and advanced technologies, Japan, as the host nation of the meeting, aims to lead discussions to create international rules on cross-border free flow of data and promote free trade among other agendas.

Also on Saturday, a meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors kicked off in the afternoon in Fukuoka. The ministers and governors are expected to work toward international cooperation in a bid to support the global economy amid growing concerns that it might slow down.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko, Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Masatoshi Ishida and Foreign Minister Taro Kono represented Japan in the trade and digital economy meeting in Tsukuba.

“Data are the sources of innovation, thus it is important to realize the free flow of data internationally,” Seko said at the beginning of the meeting, proposing “Data Free Flow with Trust,” a concept advocated by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The focus of the meeting will be whether it be able to obtain approval from China, which closes off personal information and important data under the state’s leadership.

Promotion of free trade systems and reforms of the World Trade Organization will also be discussed at the meeting. However, with distinct differences in opinion of each country, the talks will more likely experience rough going.

Finance Minister Taro Aso and Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda are chairing the meeting in Fukuoka, where participants will discuss trends of the global economy and the taxation of giant IT companies among other agendas.

Regarding the prospects of the global economy, Kuroda told reporters before the start of the meeting, “The scenario that it will recover in the latter half of this year has not changed, but there is still uncertainty over trade among other issues.” Speech

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