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Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal (Photo: ANI)
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal (Photo: ANI)

India says no to free flow of digital data at G20 meeting

  • Goyal says India is of the view that the concept of DFFT is neither well-understood nor is comprehensive enough in the legislation of many countries
  • He adds India, like many other developing countries, is still in the phase of preparing a framework for its data protection and e-commerce laws

NEW DELHI : India on Tuesday made it clear that it is not in a position to accept the concept of Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT), which was originally proposed by former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe at the G20 summit last year.

Speaking at the virtual meeting of G20 trade ministers, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said India is of the view that the concept of DFFT is neither well-understood nor is it comprehensive enough in the legislation of many countries.

“Moreover, in view of the huge digital divide among countries, there is a need for policy space for developing countries who still have to finalize laws around digital trade and data. Data is a potent tool for development and equitable access of data is a critical aspect for us," he said.

Goyal said India, like many other developing countries, is still in the phase of preparing a framework for its data protection and e-commerce laws. “Moreover, the existing regulations on which DFFT is sought to be premised, such as uninhibited cross-border flow of data, are grossly inadequate to address our concerns on data access. This could further aggravate the digital divide."

India had not participated when the proposal was made at Osaka on the sidelines of the G20 meeting of heads of states.

On the future of the World Trade Organization and the multilateral trading system, the minister said that reforms must preserve core values and fundamental principles such as non-discrimination, inclusiveness, recognition of special and differential treatment, and consensus-based decision making.

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