Censorship as Trade Barrier, Part II

0 Comment

I wrote (dismissively) the other day about the possibility of a WTO dispute over the Google spat. My favorite trade law blog (International Economic Law and Policy) chimes in on the topic, going after a rather muddled statement on the subject put out by an IT industry group.

Go read the entire post, it’s not long. But I really appreciate the following:

To me, these statements are a great example of how “discrimination” and “non-discriminatory trade barriers” get blurred together.† Notice how all three bullet points use the word “discrimination” (as part of “information discrimination”).† But not all of the points involve discrimination against foreign products.

That really gets to the heart of this issue. Lots of complaining by people who really do not understand trade law. They see discrimination, essentially a government restricting a foreign company in a certain way, and automatically jump to the conclusion that there is a trade violation. Uh uh, doesn’t work that way.

One response on “Censorship as Trade Barrier, Part II

  1. Tony

    I hate internet censorship. That said, it seems like China censors evenhandedly, both foreign and domestic websites (or is this not true?). Google was required to censor, but so was Baidu.

    So it doesn’t seem like this is an international trade issue. But I’m out of my element here since I’m not an international trade attorney.