Overview of the International Workshop “The Governance of Digital Trade: Crossroads of Divergent Approaches” organized on December 12 and 13, 2023.

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INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP

The Governance of Digital Trade: Crossroads of Divergent Approaches

organized on December 12 and 13, 2023.

Hosted at the Foreign Trade University (FTU, Vietnam)

In collaboration with the University of Tours and the University of Rennes 2 (France)

With the support of the World Trade Organization within the framework of the WTO Chair Program sponsored by FTU; and the French Embassy in Vietnam

The international workshop on “ The Governance of Digital Trade: Crossroads of Divergent Approaches” is jointly organized by the Foreign Trade University in Vietnam, in collaboration with the University of Tours and Rennes 2 in France. The conference is supported by the World Trade Organization (WTO) under the WTO Chair Program hosted by FTU and the French Embassy in Vietnam. The workshop took place on December 12 and 13, 2023, at the Foreign Trade University, conducted both in-person and online via the Zoom platform. The languages used in the conference are French and English, with simultaneous translation provided. The conference will address topics related to digital trade management, concurrently exploring and comparing approaches at the national, regional, and global levels.

The opening session of the workshop will feature opening remarks from representatives of the Foreign Trade University and the WTO Chair Program, including Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Thu Huong, Vice Rector of the Foreign Trade University; Mr. Andreas Sennekamp, Representative of the WTO Chair Program; Mr. Etienne Oudot De Dainville, Permanent Representative of France to the WTO in Geneva; and Prof. Richard Ouellet, President of NEME, Laval University (Canada).

DAY ONE, DECEMBER 12, 2023

On the first day of the workshop “Digital Trade Management: The Paths of Various Approaches,” held at 1:30 PM on Tuesday, December 12, 2023, the focus was on issues related to international trade law, particularly in the context of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and regional agreements. The conference consisted of two sessions comprising seven parallel sub-sessions, where experts and scholars presented on various topics related to the workshop theme.

In the first session, following the opening remarks, the central theme was “Digital Trade Management in the Context of the WTO,” where experts discussed aspects related to a multilateral approach to digital trade management. The first sub-session, chaired by Mr. Lucien Castex, Representative in charge of public issues at the French Internet Cooperation Association, Researcher at Sorbonne Nouvelle University, Paris 3, and Co-Chair of the Regulation and Internet Governance Research Group, Internet and Society Center, Germany 2091, CNRS (France), featured a presentation by Dr. Ly Van Anh, Researcher and Deputy Director of NEME, Laval University (Canada), focusing on “WTO and the Common Initiative on E-commerce: Opportunities for Vietnam?” Subsequent presentations discussed “Implementing data transfer provisions and WTO e-commerce negotiations,” presented by Ms. Yinuo Liu, World Trade Institute, University of Bern (Switzerland), and “Measures related to data localization within the WTO framework and free trade agreements between liberalization and protectionism,” presented by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Ha, Deputy Head of the Law Department, Foreign Trade University (Vietnam).

The second and third sub-sessions were held in parerell. The second sub-session discussed the theme “Digital Trade Governance related to non-commercial values at the multilateral level,” chaired by Prof. Richard Ouellet, President of NEME, Laval University (Canada). The first presentation in this sub-session was delivered by Inoussa Sore, International Law Research Fellow, University of Western Brittany (France), on the topic of “The participation of international financial organizations in digital trade management.” Following that, Mr. Charles Martin, Member of the Quebec Bar and researcher at UNESCO on cultural diversity in expression, Laval University (Canada), presented on “Cultural sovereignty and digital trade: a new arena, a similar battle,” along with the topic “E-commerce and sustainability: Nexus” by Mr. Victor do Prado, School of International Affairs, Paris – SciencesPo (France).

The third parallel sub-session, held simultaneously with the second sub-session in another auditorium, was chaired by Dr. Ly Van Anh, Researcher and Deputy Director of NEME, Laval University (Canada), with the main theme being “Digital Trade Management and Infrastructure for Global Digital Trade Development.” The opening presentation of the third sub-session was given by Mr. Lucien Castex, Representative in charge of public issues at the French Internet Cooperation Association, Researcher at Sorbonne Nouvelle University, Paris 3, and Co-Chair of the Regulation and Internet Governance Research Group, Internet and Society Center, Germany 2091, CNRS (France), on the topic “E-commerce and Internet infrastructure: the emergence of ad hoc management.” Following that, Dr. Ha Cong Anh Bao, Deputy Head of the Law Department, Foreign Trade University (Vietnam), presented on “Legal considerations in applying artificial intelligence to resolve online disputes,” and finally, the topic “Global research trends on facilitating digital trade: an analysis based on Web of Science directories” was presented by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Trinh Thi Thu Huong, Director of the WTO Chair Phase III Program at the Foreign Trade University (Vietnam).

In the second session, focusing on ‘Digital Trade Management – Regional Approaches,’ experts discussed tools and legal regulations for managing the digital trade environment. The second session began with the fourth parallel sub-session, titled ‘Digital Trade Management in the European Union,’ chaired by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Ha, Deputy Head of the Law Department, Foreign Trade University (Vietnam). In this sub-session, Professor of Law Sandrine Turgis from the University of Rennes, IODE (UMR CNRS 6262) (France), presented online on the topic ‘The European Declaration on Rights and Principles of the Digital: a reference document for EU external action.’ The presentation aimed to analyze and clarify the digital principles applied to EU external activities. Following this, Professor Danielle Charles-le-Bihan, Professor of Law at Jean Monnet Europe, UMR-IODE-CNRS 6262, Regional Advisor CESER Brittany (France), presented the online topic ‘Martic’ in the European Union’s maritime economy.

The fourth parallel sub-session was held simultaneously in the adjacent room under the chairmanship of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Trinh Thi Thu Huong, Director of the WTO Chair Phase III Program at the Foreign Trade University (Vietnam). Dr. Samir EL KHANZA, PhD in International Law and Comparative Law & European Studies, Luiss University (Italy), presented on ‘Global Governance of Digital Trade: Another Brussels Effect.’ He proposed solutions to enhance the effectiveness of digital trade management, including increased monitoring and scrutiny. Next, Professor Edoardo CELESTE, Professor of Law, Technology, and Innovation, City University Dublin (Ireland), presented on ‘EU Digital Sovereignty: Towards a Resource-Efficient Economy or a Protectionist Model?’ In the final part of the sub-session, attendees heard a presentation on ‘Personal Data Protection Policies in the EU and their Implications for Vietnam: In the era of artificial intelligence and digital trade’ by Dr. Nguyen Quynh Trang, PhD, Institute of State and Law, Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics (Vietnam).

Finally, the workshop concluded the first day with a lively discussion between speakers and the audience, addressing issues related to digital trade management within specific contemporary contexts. The workshop provided participants with an overview of these issues and proposed strengthened approaches supported by economic and legal tools at regional and national levels.

DAY TWO, DECEMBER 13, 2023

Continuing with the fourth parallel sub-session, the fifth sub-session began on the morning of the second day of the workshop, December 13, 2023, with the theme ‘Digital Trade Management in the Asia-Pacific Region.’ This sub-session was chaired by Ms. Ivana Otasevic, Deputy Director and Coordinator of UNESCO on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, Laval University (Canada).

The sub-session commenced with presentations from experts on Digital Trade Management in the Asia-Pacific region, addressing crucial topics that play a significant role in ensuring the sustainable development of digital commerce in this highly potential and promising region. The sub-session started with a presentation by Prof. Richard Ouellet, President of NEME, Laval University (Canada), on ‘Digital Trade in Regional Trade Agreements: The New Applications of the Spaghetti Effect?’ He introduced the certification process and gold card issuance for internationally standardized seafood products. Following this, Dr. Vu Kim Ngan, Deputy Director of the WTO Chair Phase III Program at the Foreign Trade University (Vietnam), presented on ‘Digital Service Trade in ASEAN.’ The last presentation of the sub-session was by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Thi Thuy Duong, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Legal Science, Ho Chi Minh City Law University (Vietnam), on ‘E-commerce in ASEAN: Towards a Common Policy and Legal Framework?’ Afterward, Ms. Ivana Otasevic summarized the content of the speeches and reports from the experts, emphasizing the importance of ensuring sustainable development for the digital trade sectors in the Asia-Pacific region.

The sub-session continued after the break under the chairmanship of Dr. Vu Kim Ngan, Deputy Director of the WTO Chair Phase III Program at the Foreign Trade University (Vietnam). Speakers introduced their solutions and experiences to ensure the sustainable development of the digital trade sectors in the Asia-Pacific region. The session began with an online presentation by Julissa Castro Silva, PhD from Facultad Latino-Americana de Ciencias Sociales, FLACSO-Ecuador; Professor-Researcher at Pontificia Catolica del Peru University (Peru), on ‘Digitizing Trade in Latin American Management: A Pacific Alliance Comparative Perspective.’ Next, the presentation ‘Building International Rules on Digital Trade, E-commerce, and Cross-Border Data Transmission: Critical Analysis from EVFTA and CPTPP’ was delivered to the audience by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Viet Dung, Head of the International Law Department, Ho Chi Minh City Law University (Vietnam), and ‘A New Model for Balancing Cross-Border Data Transfer Law: APEC Approach’ by Mr. Yueh-Ping (Alex) Yang, Director, Asia Center for Health Policy and Law International and WTO, National Taiwan University Law School (Taiwan).

The fifth sub-session concluded successfully, leaving valuable lessons and experiences for the management of digital trade in the Asia-Pacific region.

In the afternoon of the same day, the third session titled ‘Digital Trade Governance – National Approaches’ commenced. Opening the third session was the sixth sub-session with the theme ‘Digital Trade Management from the Perspective of National Legislation,’ chaired by Danielle Charles-le-Bihan, Honorary Professor of Public Law, Jean Monnet Chair of Europe, UMR-IODE-CNRS 6262, Regional Advisor CESER Brittany (France). The first presentation of this sub-session introduced ‘Cybersecurity in the Digital Age: Opportunities and Challenges,’ with contributions from two lecturers from the People’s Police Academy (Vietnam), Mr. Nong Duc Tai and Ms. Pham Thi Lan Anh. Following this, Jean-Louis Correa, Deputy Head of the Law Department, Cheikh Hamidou Kane Digital University (Senegal), delivered an online presentation on ‘Digital Trade Management in Senegal: Searching for a Legal Framework.’ The next two presentations covered the topics ‘Managing Aspects Related to Digital Trade of Intellectual Property in Vietnam: Pending Issues’ and ‘Competition Regulation in Digital Trade: A Regional Approach to Gamam,’ presented by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ho Thuy Ngoc, Head of International Training Department, Foreign Trade University (Vietnam), and Serena Ortigosa Fernandez, PhD, NEME, Laval University (Canada), respectively.

After the break, the seventh sub-session took place with the theme ‘Digital Trade Management under National Private Law,’ chaired by Dr. Ha Cong Anh Bao, Deputy Head of the Law Department, Foreign Trade University (Vietnam). Experts from the Department of E-commerce, Ministry of Industry and Trade (Vietnam), shared their perspectives on the topic ‘Vietnam’s Policy on Digital Trade Development.’ Following that, the presentation ‘Right of Withdrawal in Contracts on E-commerce Platforms under European Law – Vietnam Law Experience’ was delivered by Dr. Lam To Trang, Faculty of Law, Ho Chi Minh City Open University (Vietnam). The online presentation ‘Legal Discourse Conflict in E-commerce Dispute Resolution in CEMAC: Consumer Perspective’ by Mr. Boris AWA, Lecturer in Law, INES-Ruhengeri, Musanze (Rwanda), provided valuable insights for the attending audience. The last two presentations of the seventh sub-session and the workshop were ‘Impact of Standardized Digital Contract Templates on Consumer Protection in Digital Commerce’ by MSc. Pham Van Anh from the Vietnam National University of Agriculture (Vietnam) and ‘Preventing Personal Information Violations of Consumers in E-commerce Transactions: Experiences from Some Countries Worldwide’ by MSc. Nguyen Thi Hoai from the University of Law, Hue University (Vietnam).

Finally, the workshop concluded at 5:00 PM on December 13, 2023. After two rich and informative days, the workshop provided speakers and participants with valuable knowledge and experiences, leaving lasting impressions and unforgettable experiences for each attendee.