The EU’s new protectionist Data Governance Act, which was lleaked earlier this month, intends to force any new data sharing services or companies involved with “data altruism activities” to have physical offices in the EU in order to operate within the bloc, blocking out non-European based companies. Classic fortress Europe.
Yet under World Trade Organization rules, the EU has to allow foreign companies to access its data processing market from abroad. The WTO’s rules specifically prevent members, of which the EU is one, from forcing foreign businesses to establish in a jurisdiction in order to trade there. Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, a trade-wonk at the European Centre for International Political Economy, points out Politico that “Not even China goes that far. China discriminates on the basis of the licence alone”.
The EU getting on its high horse and lecturing Britain on a potential breach of international law as a result of the trade-facilitating Internal Market Bill, when they themselves are planning to break the law with their protectionist legislation, is more than a bit rich.