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E-Commerce Policy: Centre To Regulate Cross-Border Flow Of Data

Restrictions on cross-border flows of data would not apply to data which is not collected in India, business-to-business (B2B) data sent to India as part of a commercial contract between a business entity located outside India and an Indian business entity.

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E-commerce
"India's data should be used for the country's development. Indian citizens and companies should get the economic benefits from the monetisation of data," said the draft policy released by the Commerce Ministry's Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). Pixabay

The Centre on Saturday released the draft e-commerce policy which proposes the regulation of cross-border flow of data collected by the sector players in India.

The draft policy is now in the public domain for comments and feedback from the stakeholders.

“India’s data should be used for the country’s development. Indian citizens and companies should get the economic benefits from the monetisation of data,” said the draft policy released by the Commerce Ministry’s Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

All the data collected by the e-tailers in India and stored abroad should not be made available to other business entities outside the country, for any purpose, even with the customer consent, it said.

E-commerce
The data stored abroad “shall not be made available to a third party, for any purpose, even if the customer consents to it; all such data stored abroad shall not be made available to a foreign government, without the prior permission of Indian authorities,” as per the policy. Pixabay

The data stored abroad “shall not be made available to a third party, for any purpose, even if the customer consents to it; all such data stored abroad shall not be made available to a foreign government, without the prior permission of Indian authorities,” as per the policy.

However, the draft policy provides the government the right to access the data of Indian consumers stored abroad.

“A request from Indian authorities to have access to all such data stored abroad, shall be complied with immediately.”

The government will also prescribe penal consequences if an online retailer violates the rules.

Restrictions on cross-border flows of data would not apply to data which is not collected in India, business-to-business (B2B) data sent to India as part of a commercial contract between a business entity located outside India and an Indian business entity.

Software and cloud computing services involving technology-related data flows, which have no personal or community implications; and multi-national companies moving data across borders, which is largely internal to the company and its ecosystem would not have to follow the regulations.

As per the policy, domestic industrial standards need to be formulated and facilitated for smart devices and IoT (Internet of Things) devices to meet the goals of the country including, consumer protection, secured transactions, enhanced interoperability and ease-of-user interface.

E-commerce
Restrictions on cross-border flows of data would not apply to data which is not collected in India, business-to-business (B2B) data sent to India as part of a commercial contract between a business entity located outside India and an Indian business entity. Pixabay

National standard-setting organisations will be involved in this exercise along with other stakeholders, it said.

Regarding the taxation part, it said that the current practice of not imposing custom duties on electronic transmissions must be reviewed in the light of the changing digital economy and the increased role that additive manufacturing is expected to take.

The FDI policy in e-commerce has been developed in order to ensure that the marketplace provides a level playing field to all participants, it said.

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“A situation of capital dumping is to be strongly discouraged.”

The new FDI norms, which prohibit the e-tailers from selling products of companies in which they have stakes, came into effect on February 1 despite both Amazon and Walmart seeking a six-month delay in their implementation. (IANS)

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Despite Diplomacy China And Vietnam Are On Regular Crash Over Sea

Anti-China sentiment runs high among regular Vietnamese citizens too, and the government can tap into that when it needs a shot of public support.

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A fishing boat is seen during the low tide at the beach in Thanh Hoa province, Vietnam June 4, 2018. VOA

A capsized Vietnamese fishing boat that Hanoi says was hit by a Chinese vessel in contested waters is the latest in what scholars call a string of often unreported maritime mishaps between the two sides despite official efforts to get along.

The fishing boat carrying a crew of five capsized on March 6 near the Paracel Islands, a group of South China Sea islets claimed by both countries but controlled by China.

The National Committee for Incident-Natural Disaster Response and Search and Rescue in Hanoi says a Chinese vessel rammed the boat near Discovery Reef due east of Vietnam and southwest of Hong Kong, according to the news website VnExpress International. Another Vietnamese fishing boat rescued the crew, the report says. China rejects blame for the mishap.

Although the capsized boat is the biggest publicized incident at sea since a May 2014 mass boat ramming incident, Asian maritime scholars call it one in a series.

“This matter is not a special matter,” said Huang Kwei-bo, vice dean of the international affairs college at National Chengchi University in Taipei. Each side stands ready to repel the other, he said, meaning ultimately boat crews get hurt.

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China and Vietnam are the two most outspoken rival claimants to parts of the 3.5 million-square-kilometer sea that stretches as far south as the island of Borneo. VOA

“More or less, these things have happened before. Normally you’ll see when relations are good, these things are covered up but when they’re not, the incidents are made bigger,” Huang said.

Maritime clashes, diplomatic repair work

China and Vietnam are the two most outspoken rival claimants to parts of the 3.5 million-square-kilometer sea that stretches as far south as the island of Borneo. The two communist neighbors also fought a land border war in the 1970s, causing long-term distrust between governments.

China and Vietnam got into two landmark, deadly naval clashes, in 1974 and 1988, over control of the sea that’s prized for fisheries as well as fossil fuel reserves. The 2014 boat-ramming incident followed the placement of a Chinese oil drilling rig in the South China Sea.

Smaller clashes take place without causing much uproar, said Jay Batongbacal, international maritime affairs professor at University of the Philippines.

In 2011, for example, a Chinese patrol vessel “reportedly cut the exploration cables” of a Vietnamese seismic survey ship in Vietnam’s exclusive maritime economic zone, according to a 2018 study by the ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore.

Repair work

Communist party envoys often meet after incidents at sea to foster a period of calm. Each side depends on the other economically. China looks to Vietnam as a place to sell raw materials for manufacturing, while Vietnam counts China as its biggest export market.

But to prove their maritime sovereignty claim, Vietnamese authorities sometimes encourage fishing vessels to violate China’s unilateral moratorium on fishing in disputed waters, said Trung Nguyen, international relations dean at Ho Chi Minh University of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Anti-China sentiment runs high among regular Vietnamese citizens too, and the government can tap into that when it needs a shot of public support.

Vietnamese news media initially did not identify China as a player in the March 6 mishap, Nguyen said. He suspects the Communist Party eventually gave the media a “green light.”

“I think that the party-to-party relations have to figure out a way to solve the problem, otherwise similar incidents can happen in the future,” Nguyen said.

Two-way relations are “not bad” at the moment, Huang said, noting Vietnam’s recent inclusion under China’s pan-Asian Belt-and-Road infrastructure development plan. The two sides also still live by a 2011 agreement to solve their maritime disputes through negotiations.

China
Anti-China sentiment runs high among regular Vietnamese citizens too, and the government can tap into that when it needs a shot of public support. VOA

Code of Conduct

The March 6 incident may become a talking point between China and the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations as they negotiate a maritime code of conduct by 2021, analysts believe. Association members Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines vie with China over claims to the same sea. Vietnam is also a member.

A code would spell out how naval and coast guard vessels, including drones, can avoid accidents, Huang said, but it’s unclear whether it would apply to private vessels. China and the Southeast Asian bloc have talked about a code since 2002, with China delaying it part of that time. Beijing has the strongest military position among claimants to the disputed sea.

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Other countries would consider backing code proposals to stop incidents like the one March 8, Batongbacal said.

“I’m sure that this incident will be considered by other countries in discussing the code of conduct, so Vietnam’s proposals I’m sure will have some bearing on that,” he said. (VOA)