Digital Trade Policy: Governance of Cross-Border Data Flows

Data flows play a vital role in Hong Kong’s economy, especially as the city is seeking to become Asia’s Fintech hub.

Hong Kong is a financial and logistical gateway to China and its capacity to process data flows provides it a critical position in channeling China’s e-commerce boom and Belt and Road Initiative. Hong Kong has a weakness, however.

While the Government promotes financial technologies to make its financial industry more instrumental to the global system, it lacks a data strategy and has no framework on cross-border data flows. Stated more simply, data flows into Hong Kong from the whole world, but there is no clear strategy, policy or rules regulating the data flows.

This is problematic for several reasons – (1) Hong Kong cannot influence the development of global data policies; (2) there is uncertainty and a lack of transparency for digital investors; and (3) the lack of a predictable framework represents an international legal threat to Hong Kong.

This project will first evaluate how a well-developed framework could assist Hong Kong’s financial services objectives and assess its international trade and investment commitments related to data.

Tagged in Trade and Investment in Services Associates, E-Commerce / Digital Trade