The US White House issued a message saying that President Trump told the 16th that Congress intends to sign a trade agreement with Japan within a few weeks. In addition to tariffs, the United States and Japan also plan to reach an “implementation agreement” on digital trade.
Undoubtedly, this quick-release agreement that does not include the service industry and many manufacturing products is not a complete bilateral trade negotiation outcome. In other words, Japanese and American leaders have taken the necessary steps to cater to public opinion and break the deadlock. The pragmatic shortcut. On the other hand, its additional “implementation agreement” on digital trade has inadvertently released a major strategic direction between Japan and the United States: digital trade will become a competitive ground for future trade in goods and services. Whoever has mastered the right to formulate digital trade rules and the right to promote standards, who will win the initiative to lead and include the artificial intelligence, information technology and other initiatives.
Judging from the transaction-level consultations of the previous Japan-US economic and trade negotiations, the two countries have promoted the free flow of cross-border data, exempted tariffs on digital products such as music and video, and protected artificial intelligence secrets. Enterprises can not disclose the algorithms of AI, etc. The digital trade rules such as servers that do not mandate the establishment of data-storing countries have reached a basic consensus. Then, what strategic considerations do Japan and the United States have behind the intensive consultation and intensification of cooperation on digital trade rules, and have any impact on other developing countries? The author believes that there are three major purposes for Japan and the United States to instinctively and want to stop joining hands.
The first is to promote digital trade and digital product legislation, master rulemaking and standard output, create a new rule discourse power, control the new lawmaking power, seek new business competitiveness, and create new digital competitiveness.
The second is to enhance the overall advantages of the Internet business in Asia. Japan and the United States are both the birthplace and disseminators of Internet technology, and also occupy the high-end value chain of related digital industries and digital trade, and are the biggest beneficiaries of the internationalization of the Internet industry. In the face of the asymmetric rules of digital trade, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon can be described as a perfect ride. Japan also hopes to create a space for further appreciation of its competitiveness through the free and safe flow of data, and hopes to promote it through the US. Expand multilateral cooperation in digital trade with the EU and even the WTO. From this perspective, the United States and Japan have targeted the ultimate goal of digital trade in Asia, which has the world’s largest Internet users and digital trading potential.
Finally, through rulemaking to curb the rise of competitors. The history of the international economic game has proved that the industry rules and business standards are not only the business rules that the economic and trade circles need to abide by, but also the tangible extension of the hands of the national game. Faced with the requirement of France to impose digital service fees on digital trade, and some countries in Asia to levy taxes on digital products such as audio and video, Japan and the United States are preemptively formulating digital trade rules, taking into account the competitiveness and appeals of domestic enterprises to the maximum extent, but neglecting them. The development stage and current level of emerging Internet countries. On the one hand, trade protectionism goes hand in hand, on the other hand, it is a national opening in digital trade. IT companies in some emerging countries will undoubtedly face severe rule challenges, technological monopoly and lack of voice.
We hope that Japan and the United States will sign a comprehensive trade agreement aimed at safeguarding the multilateral system. It is hoped that Japan and the United States will truly release a more open signal for the development of global digital trade and even the digital economy. Only in that way, digital trade cooperation can not only be limited to the small circles of Japan and the United States, but also become a new direction for the benefit of the world’s people’s livelihood and well-being.