Q2/2019 - Japanese G20 Presidency

G20 Summit, Osaka, 28 – 29 June 2019

At the G20 Summit in Osaka on 28 and 29 June 2019, world trade and climate protection dominated the agenda. The issue of data governance, raised by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2019, was one of the controversial topics at the Summit. It was discussed to which extent Internet governance was going to be integrated into the forthcoming reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO). In the G20 Osaka Leaders Declaration, the G20 states advocate a "Data Free Flow with Trust" (DFFT). To achieve this, so the Declaration, it is necessary to improve the interoperability of networks and legal frameworks. The interaction between trade and the digital economy is becoming ever closer.[1]

However, the assessment of the Joint Initiative on eCommerce, launched by 78 governments at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2019, revealed a significant conflict. Three G20 states, India, Indonesia and South Africa, refused to approve the Osaka Declaration on Digital Economy . This document supports the Joint Initiative under the title "Osaka Track" and expresses the expectation that substantial progress will have been made when the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference is held in June 2020. India in particular regards the mandate for the Osaka Track as a restriction of national sovereignty and considers the principles of the Joint Initiative incompatible with its national eCommerce policy. India's law on data localisation, for example, contains restrictions with regard to cross-border data flows. On the other hand, both China and Russia, which have also passed laws on data localisation, have agreed to the Osaka Declaration on Digital Economy.

Another important topic at the G20 Summit was artificial intelligence. The Summit followed the recommendation of the G20 Digital Ministers and adopted a document with the title "G20 AI Principles".

The document contains ten principles for the political handling of the issue of "artificial intelligence".  Artificial intelligence is seen as a great opportunity for economic growth and the future of work. State and private actors are encouraged to invest in artificial intelligence. In order to counteract possible undesirable developments from the outset, the development of artificial intelligence should be guided by values such as human rights and democracy. Particular reference is made to principles such as freedom, dignity and autonomy, privacy and data protection, non-discrimination and equality, diversity, fairness, social justice and internationally recognised labour rights. AI systems should be transparent and accountable, robust and secure. Appropriate responsibilities for the use of artificial intelligence must be clarified in advance. It is important to expand international cooperation, to secure the interoperability of newly emerging systems, and to ensure that the changes in the labour market associated with artificial intelligence are fair.

The G20-AI principles correspond to the OECD Recommendation of the Council for Artificial Intelligence adopted by the OECD Ministerial Conference in Paris on 19 May 2019. The OECD has been working for years as a kind of de facto secretariat for the G20 on all digitisation issues. The unanimous adoption of the OECD Recommendation as "G20 AI Principles" is astonishing in that it has also been approved by G20 members who are not members of the OECD. This applies in particular to China and Russia, both of which have declared in recent years that they want to become world leaders in artificial intelligence.

A third important document adopted by the G20 Summit was a Statement on Preventing Exploitation of the Internet for Terrorism and Violent Extremism Conducive to Terrorism. This G20 statement is based in part on the declaration made by the G7 Interior Ministers in Paris on 5 April 2019, but it is less concrete. On the one hand, the G20 statement reaffirms the commitment to an "open, free and secure Internet". On the other hand, it also states that the Internet must not be a "free haven for terrorists". The rule of law applies both offline and online. The online platforms are called upon to cooperate more closely with governments and to defend themselves against abuse by terrorists and violent propagandists. The document emphasizes that it is important that online platforms are transparent in this respect and accountable to the public. Like the G7, the G20 is committed to strengthening the role of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT).[2]

The introduction of a global digital tax was also discussed in Osaka. For several years now, the G20 has been working together with the OECD to solve the problem of a digital tax at global level. Some countries, such as France, have found unilateral national solutions. Germany has declared that it will wait for the recommendations of the OECD. The G20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Package (BEPS) had now proposed a "two pillar approach" via a special working group (BEPS Inclusive Framework) on how a global digital tax could be organised. The G20 countries expressed the hope that corresponding decisions could be taken after presentation of the final report of the OECD working group in 2020.[3]

The Summit also discussed the issue of crypto currency, which had already been on the agenda at the meeting of the G20 Finance Ministers. A special dynamic was added to this debate by Facebook's announcement to introduce a new crypto currency (Libro). The G20 heads of government, however, do not yet see the stability of the global financial system endangered by crypto currencies in any way. Nevertheless they want to monitor the development very closely and encourage in particular the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to study the new developments carefully and, if necessary, to make appropriate recommendations to the G20 Finance Ministers.[4]

G20 Digital Ministers Meeting, Tsukuba, 8 – 9 June 2019

On 8 and 9 June 2019, a meeting of the G20 Digital Ministers took place in Tsukuba. For the first time, this conference was held together with the G20 ministers responsible for trade. This was meant to document the close interaction between traditional trade and the digital economy. Paragraph 9 of the final declaration, the "G20 Ministerial Statement on Trade and Digital Economy"[5] , draws attention to the "increasing convergence of the physical world and the virtual world".

Ministers from 12 other countries that are not members of the G20 but are important players in the global digital economy, such as Nigeria, Egypt, Singapore, Vietnam, Spain and the Netherlands, were invited to the conference. The event was preceded by a one-day "Multistakeholder Conference" with experts from business and civil society.

The two main outcomes of the G20 Ministerial Meeting were the G20 Digital Ministers' endorsement of the OECD Recommendation on Artificial Intelligence and the establishment of the concept of a Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT) as an important element for the forthcoming reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and for the WTO negotiations on e-commerce. The DFFT had been pushed by the Japanese G20 presidency.

Since the Chinese Presidency of the G20 in 2016, the annual G20 Digital Ministers' Conference (Hangzhou 2016, Dusseldorf 2017, Salta 2018) has developed into a platform at which general political topics on Internet governance are discussed at ministerial level far beyond the narrow range of the development of the digital economy. Noteworthy about the Tsukuba Conference was its clear commitment to the multistakeholder principle. In paragraph 13 of the final declaration, all G20 states share the view that a digital society must be built on mutual trust of all stakeholders, including governments, businesses, civil society, and the technical-academic community.[6] The declaration demands the development of innovative governance models. Paragraph 23 states that "governance in the digital era needs to be not only innovation-friendly but also innovative itself".[7]  The G20 Digital Ministers are increasingly making use of the formulations that have emerged in the WSIS context, such as the Tunis Agenda of 2005, to express their opinion in this context. The G20 Digital Ministers recommend this discussion to be continued at the 14th IGF in November 2019 and at the WSIS Forum in Geneva in March 2020. This could be a first step towards a more holistic approach to Internet-related public policy issues. It remains to be seen to what extent this trend will continue under the G20 Presidency of Saudi Arabia in 2020.

During the term of the Japanese G20 Presidency there will also be a meeting of the G20 Foreign Ministers. It is scheduled for 22 and 23 November 2019 in Nagoya. In 2020, the G20 presidency will pass to Saudi Arabia, 2021 to Italy and 2022 to India.

Mehr zum Thema
  1. [1] G20 Osaka Leaders' Declaration, Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019: „We will work toward achieving an inclusive, sustainable, safe, trustworthy and innovative society through digitalization and promoting the application of emerging technologies. We share the notion of a human-centered future society, which is being promoted by Japan as Society 5.0. As digitalization is transforming every aspect of our economies and societies, we recognize the critical role played by effective use of data, as an enabler of economic growth, development and social well-being. We aim to promote international policy discussions to harness the full potential of data. Cross-border flow of data, information, ideas and knowledge generates higher productivity, greater innovation, and improved sustainable development, while raising challenges related to privacy, data protection, intellectual property rights, and security. By continuing to address these challenges, we can further facilitate data free flow and strengthen consumer and business trust. In this respect, it is necessary that legal frameworks, both domestic and international, should be respected. Such data free flow with trust will harness the opportunities of the digital economy. We will cooperate to encourage the interoperability of different frameworks, and we affirm the role of data for development. We also reaffirm the importance of interface between trade and digital economy, and note the ongoing discussion under the Joint Statement Initiative on electronic commerce, and reaffirm the importance of the Work Programme on electronic commerce at the WTO“. Siehe: www.g20.utoronto.ca/2019/2019-g20-osaka-leaders-declaration.html
  2. [2] G20 Osaka Leaders' Statement on Preventing Exploitation of the Internet for Terrorism and Violent Extremism Conducive to Terrorism (VECT), Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019: „As leaders, one of our greatest responsibilties is to ensure the security of our citizens. It is the state's role, first and foremost, to prevent and combat terrorism. Here in Osaka, we reaffirm our commitment to act to protect our people from terrorist and VECT exploitation of the internet. We issue this statement to raise the bar of expectation for online platforms to do their part. We, the leaders of the G20, reaffirm our strongest condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The livestreamed Christchurch terrorist attacks, and other recent atrocities, demonstrate the urgency with which we must fully implement relevant UN resolutions, the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy and other instruments, including the 2017 Hamburg G20 Leaders' Statement on Countering Terrorism. For us all to reap the rewards of digitalisation, we are committed to realising an open, free and secure internet. The internet must not be a safe haven for terrorists to recruit, incite or prepare terrorist acts. To this end, we urge online platforms to adhere to the core principle, as affirmed in Hamburg, that the rule of law applies online as it does offline. This must be achieved in a way that is consistent with national and international law, including human rights and fundamental freedoms such as freedom of expression and access to information — we hold these in high regard. We commit to collaborate with states, international organisations, industry, and civil society in this endeavour. We urge online platforms to meet our citizens' expectations that they must not allow use of their platforms to facilitate terrorism and VECT. Platforms have an important responsibility to protect their users. The complexity of the challenge — and increasing sophistication of the criminals who would misuse the internet — does not lessen the importance of platforms mitigating the proliferation of terrorist and VECT content, which harms society, via their platforms. We urge online platforms to step up the ambition and pace of their efforts to prevent terrorist and VECT content from being streamed, uploaded, or re-uploaded. We strongly encourage a concerted effort to set out, implement and enforce terms of service to detect and prevent terrorist and VECT content from appearing on their platforms. Amongst other measures, this may be achieved by developing technologies. Where terrorist content is uploaded or livestreamed, we underline the importance of online platforms addressing it, in a timely manner, to prevent proliferation, while ensuring that documentary evidence is preserved. We welcome online platforms' commitment to provide regular and transparent public reporting, as set out in their policies and procedures. We note the ongoing work of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) to drive this important cross-industry agenda, including to respond to crises. However, further urgent action is needed. We encourage collaboration with industry, media outlets, researchers and civil society to strengthen GIFCT and expand its membership to be more inclusive. A strengthened GIFCT would enhance cross industry understanding, collaboration and the capability of big and small companies to prevent terrorist and VECT exploitation of their platforms. We commit to continue working together to tackle this challenge — including by sharing our domestic experiences — in our countries and through international fora and initiatives. Positive narratives to counter terrorist propaganda will continue to be an important element of this effort. We will remain engaged with industry progress and urge civil society, consumers and investors to do the same.“ Siehe: http://www.g20.utoronto.ca/2019/2019-g20-osaka-vect.html
  3. [3] G20 Osaka Leaders' Declaration, Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019 We reaffirm the importance of the worldwide implementation of the G20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) package and enhanced tax certainty. We welcome the recent progress on addressing the tax challenges arising from digitalization and endorse the ambitious work program that consists of a two-pillar approach, developed by the Inclusive Framework on BEPS. We will redouble our efforts for a consensus-based solution with a final report by 2020. Siehe: http://www.g20.utoronto.ca/2019/2019-g20-osaka-leaders-declaration.html
  4. [4] G20 Osaka Leaders' Declaration, Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019 We While crypto-assets do not pose a threat to global financial stability at this point, we are closely monitoring developments and remain vigilant to existing and emerging risks. We welcome on-going work by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and other standard setting bodies and ask them to advise on additional multilateral responses as needed. We reaffirm our commitment to applying the recently amended FATF Standards to virtual assets and related providers for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism. We welcome the adoption of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Interpretive Note and Guidance. We also welcome the FSB's work on the possible implications of decentralized financial technologies and how regulators can engage other stakeholders. We also continue to step up efforts to enhance cyber resilience. Siehe: http://www.g20.utoronto.ca/2019/2019-g20-osaka-leaders-declaration.html
  5. [5] G20 Ministerial Statement on Trade and Digital Economy, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan, June 9, 2019, siehe: http://www.g20.utoronto.ca/2019/2019-g20-trade.html
  6. [6] G20 Ministerial Statement on Trade and Digital Economy, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan, June 9, 2019: „13. We share the view that the digital society must be built on trust among all stakeholders including governments, civil society, international organizations, academics and businesses through sharing common values and principles including equality, justice, transparency and accountability taking into account the global economy and interoperability. We note the views given at the G20 Digital Economy Multi-stakeholder Conference, and look forward to the multi- stakeholders discussion at the 14th United Nation's Internet Governance Forum at the end of November 2019 in Berlin and the WSIS Forum at the end of March 2020 in Geneva.“ Siehe: http://www.g20.utoronto.ca/2019/2019-g20-trade.html
  7. [7] G20 Ministerial Statement on Trade and Digital Economy, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan, June 9, 2019: „23. We recognize that various countries have already taken steps with the intention of making policy approaches more flexible, holistic, and agile, for example through the use of regulatory sandboxes. Policies, regulations, or the removal of regulatory barriers can contribute to and accelerate economic growth, and inclusive development by developing countries as well as MSMEs. We recognize that governance in the digital era needs to be not only innovation-friendly but also innovative itself, while not losing legal certainty. Interoperable standards, frameworks and regulatory cooperation can help in this regard. International as well as national policy formulation with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders in their respective roles is instrumental to address a wide range of societal challenges and facilitate discussion on how technology can be better incorporated into policy tools. To adapt better policy approaches and guide technical innovation, we support the sharing of good practices between G20 countries, including by utilizing the G20 Repository of Digital Policies established under Argentina's presidency. We note the work of relevant international organizations.“ http://www.g20.utoronto.ca/2019/2019-g20-trade.html