Fri, Aug 30, 2013 - Page 8 News List

Trade agreement and the Internet

By Liu Ching-Yi 劉靜怡

The government has a duty to tell us what position normal and rational democracies take on opening their country’s telecommunications and computer services to foreign operators — those backed by Chinese capital in particular — and what rules they impose. It should also tell us how these countries enter into democratic dialogue and debate with their critics. International trade stresses complementarity in order to maximize results, but it does not deny that participants following the rules of international trade should protect their freedom and democracy.

The government has a duty to clarify which complementarity effects the service trade agreement will have on Internet freedom. The practical foundations, the controls in Taiwan and China and any risk impact assessments, are all part of the due process that should be an integral part of the service trade agreement.

None of us want to be part of a decision that harms the country, and we do not want to become the victims of such a decision. Focusing on the freedom and prosperity of consumers and users: should our Internet use be decided by the cross-strait service agreement?

Liu Ching-yi is a professor in the Graduate Institute of National Development at National Taiwan University.

Translated by Perry Svensson

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