China and the United States: Digital Protectionism vs. Digital Free Trade

Nigel Cory October 18, 2019
October 18, 2019

In essay for a collection published by the Center for Strategic & International Studies, Nigel Cory explained that the United States and China have fundamentally different approaches to governance of the digital economy. Over the past two decades, China has worked to isolate itself from the international digital economy through the “Great Firewall of China,” which blocks access to certain digital services such as Google and Facebook and through requirements for the local storage and control of data. In contrast, the United States wants rules that protect the free flow of data and digital goods and services within a broader framework that allows different data governance systems to work together. The divide between the U.S. and Chinese approaches to digital trade policy will make it very difficult for the two countries to work together in World Trade Organization (WTO) e-commerce negotiations.