The coming trade war over data

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Technology companies are facing growing international obstacles affecting how their most valuable asset — data — flows across borders. New trade agreements and laws are affecting how companies share and store their troves of data around the world. For decades, trade talks centered around tangible goods such as oil, agriculture and cars. But now that the economy is rooted in data that has to cross borders to meet the demands of global business, rules governing how data is housed and accessed are at the forefront of trade conversations. There are currently no international rules on how data cross borders. So a patchwork of government policies that trap data inside their countries or prevent foreign data brokers from doing business there could hamper the development of data-intensive technologies such as artificial intelligence, experts say. New digital obstacles threaten nearly $400 billion of annual US exports, according to the Washington Post. Most of the world's biggest data processors are based in the U.S., which means firms like Salesforce, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM and Google have the most on the line in these international negotiations.


The coming trade war over data