Why the i2Coalition is Attending the WTO Ministerial Conference
The following is a guest post by Perry Robinson of Rackspace.
In less than a week, the Ninth World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference will commence in Bali, Indonesia and I’ll be attending to proudly represent the i2Coalition. The Ministerial Conference is the highest supervisory authority of the WTO and meets every two years to unite its member countries to discuss multilateral trade agreements. As a founding member of the i2Coalition, Rackspace uniquely understands the importance of the conference to our organization and is looking forward to working collaboratively with member countries attending the conference.
The WTO was established in January 1995, largely from negotiations stemming from the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and aims to settle trade disputes and maintain consistent rules for international trade policies with the ultimate goal of open trade. Nearly three-quarters of the 159 member countries that comprise the WTO are developing nations.
As the unified voice for the Internet infrastructure industry, the i2Coalition has made reaching out internationally a top priority. The i2Coalition has a strong background of global outreach and has attended numerous conferences to represent the common goals of our industry. The Internet is borderless and connecting with our colleagues on a global scale is critical to developing a sustainable course to help maintain Internet freedom. Our goals for this conference are mainly to reinforce the importance of a mulitstakeholder process for determining the rules and regulations in governance and to take a stand against forced localization.
The Internet Infrastructure industry created an estimated $46 billion in revenue in 2010 alone and that number continues to grow with expected 20 percent growth in this year alone. The Internet is a global marketplace without borders, and any trade discussions must include all players in the process.
Continued expansion of the Internet is critical for fostering economic growth across the globe. Required localization threatens that growth by unfairly restricting services within a country to favor what is produced domestically. These localization barriers to trade and increased local protectionism come at the expense of free and open international trade, which is contrary to the mission of WTO.
The WTO conference will kick off on December 3 and will run through December 6. The Ministerial Conference agenda is packed with the opening ceremony and numerous plenary sessions throughout the 4 days. The i2Coalition and Rackspace are committed to advocating for the multistakeholder process and I look forward to reiterating our position at the conference. For more information about the i2Coalition’s Public Policy priorities, please view our Policy Principles. If you have any feedback about the Ministerial Conference or our positions, please contact us.