International conflicts and supply chain disruptions are a few of the challenges created by a new political, societal, and economic reality that need to be addressed and overcome collectively by like-minded partners who share the same values, such as an open market economy, human rights, freedom, equality, and the rule of law. The G7 Countries should work together more closely than ever to address the challenges we face today. Regional conflicts around the globe, geopolitical tensions, and climate change as key global challenges are increasing divisions and frictions among governments and economies. The G7 tech industry (“Tech7”) has promoted solutions to various challenges through cooperation on technological innovation and will continue to do so in the future.
For the G7 Takasaki Digital and Technology Ministerial Meeting, we, the Tech7, propose the following focus areas and recommendations:
1. Facilitation of data flows to sustain and promote recovery of the international economy
Cross-border data flows are essential to modern economies and supply chains. The free flow of data underpins trade, R&D, innovation, and business operations across sectors, supporting the development and functioning of the products and services on which we all depend. The importance of cross-border data flows for international innovation and collaboration has been demonstrated during the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Instructively, the pandemic also demonstrated clearly how the lack of effective frameworks for international data flows can negatively impact the collaborative work urgently needed to develop and deliver vaccines. International governmental cooperation is essential to support a robust, reliable, and consistent approach to cross-border data transfers, which limits fragmentation, challenges, and unwarranted barriers, and reduces uncertainty for everyone.
The concept of Data Free Flows with Trust (DFFT), which was first proposed by Japan at the World Economic Forum (WEF) and at the G20 in 2019, has been widely understood through international dialogue so far, but there are still few concrete results.
The G7 and any international trade regime under negotiation should always include provisions on international data flows. The ultimate goal should be for these agreements not only to support the flow of physical and digital goods but also the flow of data.
➢ Ensuring the free flow of data across borders by combating restrictions on the global digital economy through harmonization of principles and international standards, which balance regulatory autonomy on privacy and data protection issues with the need for a globally consistent framework.
➢ Refraining from imposing unjustified localization measures that require local storage or processing of data or use of local technology facilities (e.g. data centres)
➢ Continued support for the World Trade Organization (WTO) Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions and work towards a permanent moratorium. Numerous industries rely extensively on the seamless transmission of goods and services electronically, as well as the free flow of data. These industries encompass a wide range of sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, entertainment, software development,
financial services, semiconductors, aerospace, automotive, robotics, and medical technology.
➢ Working together towards setting a common rulebook that prioritizes non-discriminatory and/or reciprocal approaches with regards to service providers, based on the location of their headquarters, ownership, or sector; especially within the G7
➢ Ensuring that governments do not undermine international protections of trade secrets and do not require the forced transfer of technology as a market access requirement or take any action that requires access to
source code, algorithms, or cryptographic information.
2. Utilization of digital technology in addressing global sustainability challenges such as climate change and the energy transition
The 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals cover a wide range of areas, including climate change countermeasures, sustainable production and consumption, affordable and clean energy, and the realization of an inclusive society that leaves no one behind. By adopting digital technology globally and accelerating adoption in the global south, we will be able to provide effective solutions to address all of these issues. Above all, digital technology and connectivity will play a key role in attaining climate goals, and in accelerating the rollout of renewable energy, improving energy efficiency, and saving costs for consumers and businesses. G7 countries should work in concert to increase digital inclusion around the globe. The tech industry stands ready to assist the G7 in the implementation of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment.
We are convinced G7 countries should step up work on the alignment of subsidy packages for recovery and resourcing. Subsidies should be aligned between G7 members so that no discrimination takes place and common growth strategies are developed amongst partners.
3. Global dissemination of human-centred AI principles:
The use of AI, including the new generative AI system, is rapidly expanding around the world, and along with other technologies, it is expected to help solve complex social and environmental challenges facing the modern world, advance productivity, and support growth in a wide range of fields. AI drives the world’s economic productivity and growth, supports people in all aspects, including helping to deliver public services, and contributes to the development of mature digital markets. The G7 should share the same understanding of AI’s role in building trust and align around core principles.
4. Cyber security to secure trust
With the increase in online services and activities, the digitization of industries, and the increase in connected devices (IoT), the role of cybersecurity has become even more important in providing stable networks. Strong cybersecurity measures that protect systems and data from cyber threats are fundamental to securing the digital economy and consumer trust. From critical infrastructure to consumer device makers, ensuring cyber security has become imperative for all participants in the digital ecosystem. Risk-based cybersecurity is a prerequisite for unlocking the potential of data for economic growth and social good in areas such as healthcare. Yet, each country and region has its own cybersecurity policies and measures (e.g. EU’s NIS2, cybersecurity certification scheme and NLF, Japan’s Cyber/Physical Security Framework (CPSF), and IoT Security Safety Framework (IoT- SSF)), leading to fragmentation and in some cases discrimination against companies from allies countries. G7 members must align on internationally-recognized cybersecurity frameworks, measures, and risk management best practices to ensure interoperability and data flows among the G7 to address cross-border cyber risks that may jeopardize the functioning of our economies and societies.
5. Advancing connectivity for new digitalization opportunities for society (6G)
Secure digitalization comes with great potential to transform industries and our society. It is also vital to achieving sustainability targets. The mobile network platform, as defined by 3GPP for 4G and 5G, is already the primary and most reliable means of internet access and digital services interaction for most of the world’s population and constitutes critical infrastructure for the functioning of society. Still, the future mobile network platform will and must continue to evolve and achieve further advances in e.g., openness, configurability, capacity, security, and reliability needs, to meet the demands of being the communication and digitalization backbone of society.
The Tech7 supports the ambitions to expand the global ecosystem to ensure affordability for the global south, combined with new possibilities for security. Future mobile network platforms can continue to create an unprecedented foundation for a sustainable, secure, and more accessible digital economy for consumers, enterprises, and governments.
G7 members are well positioned to produce ground-breaking research while furthering each other’s capabilities through increased research cooperation creating mutual benefits toward leadership ambitions in 6G. G7 economies will benefit immensely from global, open 6G standardization efforts founded on WTO/TBT principles for international standards development. The importance of these principles was reconfirmed by G7 in 2021 and 2022.
While initial 6G research is already being performed at national and regional levels, the G7 should work together with global ambition in the following areas:
6. Proactive Cooperation to improve basic and advanced digital skills
In a rapidly changing world, digitization is an issue for all: businesses, governments, and civil society as a whole. Acquisition of basic digital skills at an early age is critical to the future of all countries and their citizens, and a precondition to narrowing the digital divide, by upskilling and reskilling citizens. Advanced digital skills in ICT processes from software development to new information systems design and management, and in several innovative areas, from data security to AI and data analytics/big data, are essential to accelerate adoption and reap the full benefits of new digital solutions. Ensuring that young people have access to online resources to develop digital skills and participate in the global digital ecosystem with their peers is essential to equip this and future generations with essential knowledge and expertise. Collaboration among G7 countries will be critical in affording young people the full opportunities of digitization and ensuring that vulnerable and disadvantaged young people are not excluded.
While policies are already in place at national and regional levels to address the digital skills gap, the G7 should work together globally in the following areas: