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International relations

Japan and US to propose digital trade rule to counter China

Nations plan to join forces at World Trade Organization meeting

A server in Singapore. China essentially requires foreign companies to maintain servers within the country, which can be costly.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan plans to join with the U.S. to propose international rules to promote freer cross-border data flows, looking to counter digital protectionism in China and elsewhere.

Tokyo will bring up the issue at a voluntary World Trade Organization meeting in Geneva next Wednesday, expected to be attended by about 80 members, including the European Union and China. Japan will seek a framework with the high degree of liberalization seen in the Trans-Pacific Partnership's digital trade provisions, with the U.S. likely to stake out a similar position.

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