Category Archives: other

Making America First in the Digital Economy: The Case for Engaging Europe (Report)

atlantic-councilIn an age of transatlantic tensions over the Iran deal, trade balances, and steel tariffs, digital policy is uniquely poised to offer opportunities for greater US-EU cooperation. At the same time, the digital arena also has the potential to be a policy minefield, with issues such as privacy, digital taxation, and competition policy still unresolved. Making America First in the Digital Economy: The Case for Engaging Europe addresses these challenges and explores how the US-EU digital agenda fits in the larger transatlantic relationship.

Making America First—but Not Alone—in the Digital Economy
For the United States to continue as a leader in the digital economy, it must engage with Europe. Strong and early US engagement could help moderate European policy while ensuring greater compatibility across the Atlantic. That compatibility is essential if the United States and Europe are to succeed in fighting cyberattacks, online terrorism, and criminal networks. It is also key to US and EU future economic success in the competitive global digital marketplace.” excerpt

Written by Atlantic Council expert Frances Burwell, a distinguished fellow with the Future Europe Initiative, this report analyzes the prospects for US-EU collaboration in the digital economy, identifying potential crisis points and next best steps forward.



India:Google tax may be broadened to cover non-digital MNCs

India FlagMUMBAI: A budgetary proposal to tax multinationals with a substantial user base in India such as Google and Facebook is now being widened to include non-digital companies.
This could mean that any company that merely sells goods or services in India could see domestic taxes of up to 42% on their profits, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The government is planning to introduce rules to effect the change proposed in the budget in the coming weeks, said one of the persons quoted above.
Many tax experts fear this could impact several multinational companies that only export goods or services to India.

“The question is whether there is a tax to do business with India. If non-digital companies that merely trade with India could see their business connection/permanent establishment set in India slapped with domestic taxes, this could lead to unsettling of settled tax positions,” said , partner, Ashok Maheshwary & Associates LLP.

According to another person with direct knowledge of the matter, the impact on non-digital companies is unintentional.


Nevis developing its digital economy through e-government transformation

nevisAs most Caribbean islands seek to improve their information and communications technology (ICT) sector, Nevis is also aggressively developing their digital economy through e-government transformation.

The recent inauguration of Hon. Troy Liburd, first Minister of ICT, with responsibility for Education, Library Services and Information Technology in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), re-affirmed this island’s commitment to developing ICT and implementing 21st Century Government.

The Information Technology (IT) Department of the NIA, which falls under the remit of this Ministry, is seeking to raise public awareness and foster greater understanding of ICT in the wider community through outreach activities. While some internal applications already exist in the NIA in the Office of the Premier, Customs, Financial Services and the Inland Revenue Department, the IT Department is working towards implementing e-services to improve e-government processes in the island. Nevis already has a sound Wide Area Network – one of the fundamental requirements for supporting digital government initiatives.

 One outreach activity is the Department’s hosting of its second annual ICT Week which took place from April 29th to May 5th 2018. Mr. Quincy Prentice, Director of the NIA Technology Department, in elaborating on the theme of this year’s event, ‘ICT – Supporting the Trust Towards 21st Century Economy’ stated, “The goals of ICT Week are to promote the growth and development of the local ICT sector; to connect ICT solution providers with solution seekers; to raise awareness about critical ICT issues such as cyber-security, cloud computing, block chain technologies and artificial intelligence; and to generate interest in ICT as a career path amongst youth.”
 One of the feature components of this year’s event was the 21st Century Government Workshop. Conceived by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), according to Secretary General Bernadette Lewis in her Opening Remarks, “The 21st Century Government initiative seeks to establish citizen-centric seamless Governments that are fit for purpose in the 21st Century and therefore foster transformation of the public service.” She further added, “The workshop was designed to review the policy and planning framework and assess the current state of digital government in St Kitts and Nevis with specific emphasis on Nevis.”

Led by CTU’s ICT Consultant, Gary Kalloo, and Ernst and Young’s Executive Director and Caribbean Lead, Government and Public Sector, Devindra Ramnarine, this interactive, informative and capacity building workshop covered five critical components of 21st Century Government; creating an enabling environment, building the infrastructure, digitising the landscape, protecting the future and financing the vision. The workshop was used to validate the current state of these components through stakeholder engagements and information collated from a questionnaire on the state of digital government readiness assessment.

The workshop was used to identify gaps, priority areas and possible action agenda for implementing 21st Century Government in Nevis. Follow up workshops will be conducted with the business community and senior government officials to get their support to accelerate the implementation of 21st Century Government. 

IMF Executive Board Discusses Measuring the Digital Economy

download (1)On March 28, 2018, the IMF Executive Board discussed the staff paper on Measuring the Digital Economy. The paper assesses the current state of play in measurement of the digital sector in macroeconomic and financial statistics, recommending steps to overcome the measurement challenges posed by digitalization. It focuses on a digital sector comprising the producers at the core of digitalization: online platforms, platform-enabled services, and suppliers of Information and Communications Technology goods and services.

“The paper proposes a perimeter for the digital sector, distinguishing it from the broader digital economy” said Gabriel Quirós, Deputy Director of the IMF Statistics Department. “Subsequently, it discusses the inter-related core aspects of GDP, welfare, globalization, and productivity and analyzes the challenges in measuring the economic and financial activity related to the digital sector by systematically reviewing the state of play of statistics on prices, national accounts, external sector, and monetary and financial developments.”

Improving statistics agencies’ access to administrative data and “Big Data” can help overcome the measurement challenges posed by digitalization. For administrative data – data collected by or available in government agencies as an integral part of their regular activities – this entails cooperation of national government agencies, while in the case of Big Data, the cooperation should extend to partnerships between the private and the public sectors, including international organizations.

2018 – IMF – Measuring Digital Economy


Blockchain industry leaders see vast business potential in Russian Siberia

The regions of Siberian Federal District of Russia are regarded as a major platform for blockchain industry’s future development by the big guys in blockchain-related business, as stated by the State Duma member Victor Zubarev.

According to investors’ estimates, spare capacity in industry and cheap electric power could turn Siberian Federal District into one of the world’s major blockchain technology research and development centers in future.

“The development of digital technology-related industrial park is envisaged. It will attract about 3 500 000 000 worth of investments into Russia-based BitBaza corporation,” – Zubarev added.

The development of digital economy and cross-cutting technologies in Russia is outlined in “Digital Economy of the Russian Federation” program.

“Among the key objectives of the program is the goal of providing for institutional and infrastructural environment suitable for development of high-tech digital economy-related projects in Russia. Siberia, in particular, may become a world’s digital data storage and processing hub,” – the parliamentarian noted.

It should also be reminded that according to the statement made by the Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Sergei Donskoi earlier in March, it is considered appropriate to use solar energy and wind power for cryptocurrency mining in Russia. According to Donskoi, the idle capacities needed for these purposes are to be sought in Siberia and Russian Far East.


USA – Cyberspace and Digital Economy Bureau proposal

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wants to develop a Bureau of Cyberspace and the Digital Economy, according to a letter from him to Edward Royce, the chair of the committee of foreign affairs.

The bureau, as described in the letter, would help the US lead international efforts in all aspects of cyberspace. As the world, its economy, and its businesses become increasingly digital, a group of informed experts may be necessary to help develop policies in the US and abroad.

“With increasing incidents of disruptive global cyber attacks, including some sponsored by nation states, and the emergence of the digital economy dependent on internet connectivity, U.S. international leadership in this area will be important in the years to come,” Tillerson wrote.

Cyberspace and Digital Economy Bureau proposal