Developing Transatlantic Digital Trade: What are the obstacles
April 23, 2021
On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM EST the Center for European Union, Transatlantic, and Trans-European Space Studies and the European Parliament Liaison Office, Washington DC jointly held this event on Digital Trade and Taxation.
Andreas Schwab (Germany-EPP), Member of European Parliament, will open the event with a short keynote address. The subsequent panel, moderated by Besnik Pula (CEUTTSS), will will address the ways in which the rise of the digital economy has generated new questions over the governance of transatlantic trade. It features Benjamin Angel, European Commission, TAXUD; Francesco Duina, Bates College & Jean Monnet Network on Transatlantic Trade Politics; and Urška Petrovčič, of the Hudson Institute.
Digital services, e-commerce, and other technology-intensive trade in services have become critical drivers of international trade in recent decades, with
digital services assuming even greater importance to economies across the world in the Covid era. In addition to more familiar questions of data security
and privacy, the digital economy is also presenting challenges to other areas of international economic relations and governance. National differences over
taxation of digital services are also producing confrontation over competition for innovation and international market access by technology firms.
Nowhere have these issues emerged more strongly than in trade and economic relations between the United States and the European Union. In 2017, US
digital services exports amounted to over $400 billion, estimated to directly and indirectly support over 1.4 million American jobs. The EU is one of the top markets for US digital exports as well as the largest provider of digital services to the US economy. The great importance of transatlantic digital trade to the US and the EU has generated a number of critical policy issues in bilateral
economic relations, such as questions of data privacy and security, the regulation of business cross-border activities of digital service providers, and the taxation of digital services. Questions of data regulation and taxation have spilled over into issues of competition and innovation and market access for firms on both sides of the Atlantic.
Andreas Schwab is a member of the European Parliament since 2004 from Germany and belongs to the European People's Party (EPP). As coordinator of
the EPP group in the influential Internal Market Committee (IMCO) of the European Parliament, he has been successfully steering key legislation through parliament, in particular the Consumer Rights Directive (2011), the Network and Information Security Directive (2013), the Directive on Antitrust Damages Actions (2014) and the Directive on the European Competition Network (2018). He has been authoring important resolutions of the European Parliament on "Single Market Governance" (2012) and on supporting
consumer rights in the digital single market (2014). Schwab is currently drafting the Parliaments position on the regulation of Digital Markets Act (DMA) as well as the own-initiative report on digital taxation (FISC/ECON).
Benjamin Angel joined the European Commission (the EU executive) in 1994. His experience mixes posts in the cabinet of the European Commissioners for economic and monetary affairs (Yves-Thibault de Silguy Pedro Solbes and Joaquin Almunia) with positions in the services in charge of economic and financial affairs and more recently, taxation. He is currently Director for ‘direct taxation, tax coordination, economic analysis and evaluation’ and acting Director for ‘indirect taxation and tax administration.’
Francesco Duina is Professor of Sociology and European Studies at Bates College (USA). He began his career as a management consultant at what is now
Monitor Deloitte. He has held appointments at Harvard, the University of British Columbia, and the Copenhagen Business School. Francesco has published widely on the EU, international trade agreements, and the cultural underpinnings of market integration. His books include The Social Construction of Free Trade (Princeton 2007) and Europe’s Malaise (co-edited with Frédéric
Mérand, Emerald 2020).
Urška Petrovčič is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, where her work focuses on antitrust and intellectual property. Her publications on the
enforcement of standard-essential patents (SEPs) include a book, Competition Law and Standard Essential Patents: A Transatlantic Perspective (Wolters Kluwer 2014), and articles in the Common Market Law Review and other journals. Since
2017, Dr. Petrovčič has acted as the European Commission’s non-governmental adviser for the Unilateral Conduct Working Group of the International Competition Network.
Besnik Pula is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Associate Director of Operations of the Center for European Union,
Transatlantic, and Trans-European Space Studies – A Jean Monnet Center of Excellence (CEUTTSS) at Virginia Tech.