The Brookings Institution report The Importance of the Internet and Transatlantic Data Flows for U.S. and EU Trade and Investment (2014) shows that transatlantic data flows are mutually beneficial. It also shows that the U.S. and the EU are both globally competitive exporters of digitally-deliverable services, that the majority of the growth in transatlantic data flows will be generated by commercial and research needs (BMW, Dassault Systems and SAP are examples of this phenomenon), and that the potential for continued growth is very strong as the Internet of Things increasingly becomes a reality - which positions Europe to take advantage of its surplus in goods trade with the United States.
Pilar del Castillo, MEP and EIF Chair, opened the debate by asking speakers to elaborate on ways in which cross-border data flows can create new business opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic.
Joshua Meltzer, fellow in Global Economy and Development at Brookings Institution and author of the report ‘The Importance of the Internet and Transatlantic Data Flows for U.S. and EU Trade and Investment’ (2014), presented the key findings. He noted that cross-border data flows between the U.S. and Europe are the highest in the world - 50 percent higher than data flows between the U.S. and Asia and almost double the data flows between the U.S. and Latin America. Global U.S. exports of digitally deliverable services in 2012 were $383.7 billion and imports $233.6 billion. This represented 61 percent of total U.S. services exports and 53 percent of services imports. Global EU exports of digitally deliverable services in 2012 were $465 billion and imports $297 billion. He concluded that given the size of transatlantic data economies, the policies that the US and EU adopt will affect not only transatlantic but also global trade.
Rene Summer, Director Government and Industry Relations, presented Ericsson’s point of view on data flows and data driven innovation. He noted that his company’s data and R&D centers are based mostly in Europe, while 80 percent of their services are exported outside. He also presented some practical examples of how cross-borders data flows and data driven innovation could work in real life.
Marco Düerkop, TTIP Lead Negotiator in Services - Deputy Head of Unit B1: Services at DG TRADE European Commission, spoke from the policy negotiation perspective. He raised the ultimate question: how to strike the right balance between data flows and personal data privacy.