International trade: cross-border data flows

17 January 2024, European Shippers’ Council met officials from the European Commission (Directorate-General for International Trade) to discuss cross-border data flows and the rejection of trade certificates from Morocco. The EC´s DG TRADE asked ESC to inform members about the Moratorium for customs duties on electronic transmissions. Following feedback received, ESC confirmed that problems subsist with Turkey and North African countries.

During the meeting, ESC highlighted its support for greater data flows between nations as a principle, but also raised concerns about how data – including industrial data – is used and the extent to which intellectual property rights are protected. The European Commission acknowledges differences in talks with countries such as China or India and is recognising the ongoing need for greater data flows that can benefit all trading blocs.

At the EU level, ESC raised the importance of the European maritime single window environment where enhanced data flows and continued cooperation is needed between shippers, carriers, ports, and customs to foster the recognition of electronic documents for international trade (for example, a bill of lading).

The meeting ended with an agreement to continue sharing information on the difficulties faced by shippers in trading in the EU and beyond. European Shippers’ Council will continue engaging with DG TRADE and actively participating in expert groups such as the Digital Transport and Logistics Forum to guarantee shippers have an active voice in defining global trade.