The Impact of Free Trade Agreements on Information Technology Based Business

Abbe Brown, Jordan Hatcher, Andres Guadamuz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper considers the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA)1 and its impact on Information Technology (IT) based businesses. We summarize the factual background to, and contents of, the agreement, and then review those parts of the agreement (or omissions from the agreement) that are relevant to the IT field. IT is of interest both because of its potential importance as a contributor to business (and social) growth, but also because of the lesser international roles accorded to it in comparison with its sister, intellectual property (IP). The IT-related provisions of DR-CAFTA reflect international IT (and IP) controversies. But DR-CAFTA also raises questions of the place of agreements between states, their legal validity and their impact upon international relationships and global development. The primary objective of this paper was to explore the extent to which DR-CAFTA impacts upon IT based businesses; the implications of this; to assess how much these issues, and associated economic and legal questions, had been addressed; and to lay the foundations for further legal and interdisciplinary work. We have sought to introduce all the issues covered in DR-CAFTA, and arising in respect of other agreements of this nature the issues, provide preliminary comment, and provide a list of resources for further study. There are important issues to be developed regarding all free trade agreements and IT. We propose investigating the present and future impact of UDRP provisions in DRCAFTA countries, and liability of Internet Service Providers (ISPs). These can raise important questions combining IT, e-commerce, IP, trade, human rights and competition issues; both for DR-CAFTA countries and those contemplating their own agreements. There is a need for international and interdisciplinary collaboration for this work to be done, including through empirical research with ISPs and domain name owners. We propose holding an international meeting of experts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-546
Number of pages61
JournalGeopolitics, History, and International Relations
Volume2
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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