Skip to main content Accessibility help

TTIP negotiations, policy convergence, and the transatlantic digital economy

  • Gaël Le Roux


The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has the potential to be a landmark treaty on many grounds. According to European and American officials, one of the main features that should differentiate the TTIP from other bilateral free trade agreements is, beyond its unprecedented scale, the ambition of its regulatory dimension. On both sides of the Atlantic there is a strong incentive to mitigate the impacts of “behind-the-border” obstacles that mostly stem from existing divergences between laws and regulations applied in Europe and in the United States. To do this, trade negotiators, together with policymakers and regulators, attempt, when possible and desirable, to facilitate the convergence of the policies that frame the European and the American markets. This paper analyzes how convergence may be reached with regards to the regulation of the digital economy, a relatively new area of interest in the field of trade law and policy studies, that seems to deserve a specific attention considering the growing importance it has taken at the domestic level and in the context of trade negotiations.


Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: Gaël Le Roux, Ph.D Candidate in Law, Université libre de Bruxelles - Institut d'Etudes Européennes/Faculté de Droit et de Criminologie - Centre de droit européen & Aix-Marseille Université / CNRS - Unité Mixte de Recherche Droit International Comparé et Européen - Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales et Communautaires, CERIC, Espace Cassin, 3 avenue Robert Schuman - 13628 Aix-en-Provence Cedex 1, France, email:


Hide All
Akhtar, Shayerah Ilias and Jones, Vivian C.. 2014. “ Proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: In Brief .” Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research service.
Burri, Mira. 2007. “The Law of the World Trade Organization and the Communications Law of the European Community: On a Path of Harmony or Discord?Journal of World Trade 41(4): 833–78.
Burri, Mira. 2015. “The International Economic Law Framework for Digital Trade.” Zeitschrift für Schweizerisches Recht 135(2): 1072.
CETA. 2016. Comprehensive economic and trade agreement, between Canada, of the one part, and the European Union and its Member State, of the other part. (Accessed 30 August 2017)
Council of the European Union. 2016. Decision on the signing on behalf of the European Union of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada, of the one part, and the European Union and its Member States, of the other part, 2016/0206 (NLE) 10972/1/16 REV 1.
Court of Justice of the European Union. 2015. “Maximillian Schrems v. Data Protection Commissioner,” C-362/14.
Department of Commerce. 2013. “Internet Policy Task Force Green paper on Copyright policy, creativity and innovation in the digital economy.” (Accessed 30 August 2017)
Damro, Chad. 2012. “Market Power Europe.” Journal of European Public Policy 19(5): 682–99.
DigitalEurope and Information Technology Industry Council. 2015. “Forging a truly transatlantic digital economy.” By Dean Garfield and John Higgins. (Accessed 10 October 2015)
Digital Millennium Copyright Act. 1998. An act to amend title 17, United States Code, to implement the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty and Performances and Phonograms Treaty, and for other purposes. Public Law 105–304, US Statutes at large 112(1998): 2860.
Electronic Commerce Directive. 2000. Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market. Official Journal of the European Union L/178, 17.07.2000.
Euractiv. 2014. “EU and US mull digital economy chapter in TTIP” Euractiv. (Accessed 8 January 2017)
European Centre for International Political Economy. 2016. “Digital trade estimates database.” (Accessed 15 December 2016)
European Commission. 2005. “Communication on E-accessibility”: COM (2005)425 final.
European Commission. 2015i. “A digital single market strategy for Europe”: COM (2015)192 final.
European Commission. 2015ii. “A reading guide to the EU proposal on services, investment and e-commerce for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.” (Accessed 12 January 2016)
European Commission. 2015iii. “Annexes to the services, investment and e-commerce initial proposal.” (Accessed 12 October 2015)
European Commission. 2015iv. “Initial proposal on trade in services, investment and e-commerce.” (Accessed 12 October 2015)
European Commission. 2015v. “Textual proposal on technical barriers to trade (TBT).” (Accessed October 2015)
European Commission. 2015vi. “Trade in goods and customs duties in TTIP.” (Accessed 12 October 2015)
European Commission. 2016i. “Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market” COM(2016) 593 final.
European Commission. 2016ii. “Implementing decision pursuant to Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and the Council on the adequacy of the protection provided by the EU – U.S. Privacy shield” Official Journal of the European Union, L207/01.
François, Joseph, Manchin, Miriam, Norberg, Hanna, Pindyuk, Olga, and Tomberger, Patrick. 2013. “Reducing Transatlantic Barriers to Trade and Investment: An Economic Assessment.” Final Project Report. London: Centre for Economic Policy Research.
Garcia, Maria J. 2014. “Same aims, different approaches? Recent EU and US free trade agreements in Asia.” London University Association for Contemporary European Studies.
GATS. 1994. General agreement on trade in services. (Accessed 7 July 2017)
Greenpeace. 2016. “Tactical state of play.” (Accessed 22 April 2016)
Husovec, Martin. 2014. “CETA: should Canadian Internet Intermediaries Worry.” Hutko's technology law blog. (Accessed 12 August 2016)
InfoSoc Directive. 2001. Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonization of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society. Official Journal of the European Union, L/167, 22.6.2001.
Irion, Kristina, Yakovleva, Svetlana, and Bartl, Marija. 2016. “Trade and privacy: complicated bedfellows? How to achieve data protection-proof trade agreements.” Institute for Information Law Independent Study, commissioned by BEUC, Amsterdam: 1–90.
Knill, Christopher and Holzinger, Katharina. 2005. “Causes and conditions of cross-national Policy convergence.” Journal of European Public Policy 12(5): 775–96.
KOREU. 2011. Free trade agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Korea, of the other part, Official journal of the European Union, L 127/1.
KORUS. 2011. Free trade agreement between the Republic of Korea and the United States of America, Public Law 112–41, US Statutes at large 125(2011): 428.
Larik, Joris. 2015. “Good global governance through trade: constitutional moorings.” In Global Governance through trade: EU policies and approaches, edited by Wouters, Jan, Marx, Axel, Geraets, Dylan, and Natens, Bregt, Leuven Global Governance series. Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Meinsner, M. Stefan. 1998. “Global Telecommunications Competition a Reality: United States Complies with WTO Pact.” American University International Law Review 13(5): 1,345–81.
Nikolaïdis, Kalypso and Shaffer, Gregory. 2005. “Managed Mutual Recognition Regimes: Governance Without Global Government.” Law and Contemporary Problems 68(3–4): 263318.
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. 2015. “Digital Economy Outlook.” (Accessed 23 January 2016)
Rabu, Gaylor. 2008. “La mondialisation et le droit : éléments macrojuridiques de convergence des régimes juridiques.” Revue internationale de droit économique 22(3): 335–56.
Renda, Andrea and Yoo, Chistopher. 2015. “Telecommunications and Internet Services: the digital side of the TTIP.” CEPS-CTR Policy Paper No.8. Brussels: Centre for European Policy Studies.
TBT. 1994. Agreement on technical barriers to trade. (Accessed 7 July 2017)
Telecommunications Act. 1996. An Act to promote competition and reduce regulation in order to secure lower prices and higher quality services for telecommunications consumers and encourage the rapid deployment of new telecommunications technologies. Public Law 104–104, US Statutes at large 56(1996): 652.
TPP. 2015. Trans Pacific partnership. (Accessed 7 July 2017)
TRIPS. 1994. Trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights. (Accessed 7 July 2017)
United Sates Federal Communication Commission. 2015. “Open Internet Order.” FCC 15–24, GN Docket No. 14–28.
United States Trade Representative. 2015i. “The digital dozen.” (Accessed November 18, 2015)
United States Trade Representative. 2015ii. “Transatlantic trade and investment partnership.” (Accessed 18 November 2015)
United States Trade Representative. 2015iii. “Trans-pacific partnership: Ensuring free and open internet.” (Accessed 18 November 2015)
Van Eecke, Patrick (ed.). 2016. “Data protection laws of the world.” DLA Piper, 1507.
Webb, Matthew. 2013. “Differences in Prominent US and EU Treaties Concerning Liability For Service Providers.” (Accessed 7 October 2015)
Wikileaks. 2015. “The Trade in Services Agreement.” (Accessed 28 March 2016)
World Trade Organization. 1998. “Work programme on electronic commerce.” As adopted by the General Council, WT/L/274.
World Trade Organization. 2011. “Communication from the European Union and the United States: contribution to the work program on electronic commerce.” Council for Trade in Services, S/C/W/338.
World Trade Organization. 2015i. “Information Technology Agreement — an explanation.” (Accessed 17 February 2016)
World Trade Organization. 2015ii. “Ministerial declaration on the expansion of trade in information technology products.” Nairobi, WT/MIN15/ (25).
Sacha, Wunsch-Vincent and Hold, Arno. 2012. “Towards Coherent Rules for Digital Trade: Building on Efforts in Multilateral versus Preferential Trade Negotiations.” In Trade Governance in the Digital Age, edited by Burri, Mira and Cottier, Thomas. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
Young, Alasdair. 2015. “The European Union as a Global Regulator? Context and Comparison.” Journal of European Public Policy 22(9): 1,233–52.



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed