The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) unites 12 countries that represent 40 percent of the world’s economy according to the office of the US Trade. Although who stands to benefit?
Here are some Concerns and Advantages for the Digital Economy:
Monopoly and a greater divide between large and small business.
The Summary of the Agreement launched by The Office of the United States Trade Representative claims level playing field due to government restrictions for foreign companies would be lifted.
Although a potential concern with free movement across borders is large companies with resources (particularly US Corporations with purchasing power) to build infrastructure will have significant advantages to monopolize the markets, creating barriers for smaller companies or new entrants.
Privacy with cloud computing
Regardless of privacy assurance from large corporations there always exists the risk of privacy breach when you move to the cloud. Therefore, lifting restrictions for multinational companies where they were required to maintain files/data onsite and within country borders could bring many unforeseeable conflicts.
For example, moving data into the cloud for convenience could have drastic effects when these cloud providers are heavily influenced by federal governments and there are times of conflict/tension between countries. In addition, the office of the US Representative also mentions that the agreement is seeking requirements to support a single, global Internet, including ensuring cross-border data flows. This could further complicate matters when determining who governs this, how they may be influenced, and what leverage it could cause over the smaller economies.
Despite the long list of benefits for large corporations there are some advantages found for all.
The TPP contains an Electronic Commerce Chapter that facilitates the free flow of data across borders, and prevents TPP Parties from requiring that suppliers engaged in electronic sales establish computing facilities in each country they wish to sell to according to The Office of the United States Trade Representative. This would in the past clearly benefit the larger corporations who have the resources to meet these criteria's so allowing everyone to compete without these restrictions could help a broader audience. In addition, the cost savings on duties/tariffs imposed on hardware that is no longer needed due to the advancement of cloud technologies and lifting of the above restrictions could help the smaller companies compete as well.
In summation, TPP greatest beneficiaries within the digital ecosystem looks to be with the larger corporations. With the large American tech companies collaborating in the cloud to create an efficient workflow through integration it would be easy to see them gaining traction in various countries where expansion hurdles had remained. The flip side could be hampered growth for the digital industry in these other countries due to the loss in market share. In addition, the sellout of digital firms to larger tech companies entering these new markets could open doors for monopolies resulting in uphill battles for new startups.