IDEA’s Nick Ashton-Hart was a presenter at the WTO’s Workshop on Trade and the Transfer of Technology on 16th June, organized for WTO Member state delegates under the aegis of the Working Group on Trade and the Transfer of Technology.
- While most speakers highlighted patents in specific and intellectual property in particular as central to technology transfer, in keeping with IDEA’s mission Nick focused on the many non-IP related aspects of Internet services. These included:
- How the use of platforms by SMEs to export to global customers allowed unparalleled opportunities and nearly frictionless opportunities compared to bricks-and-mortar offline trade;
- Examples of how cloud ecommerce applications and smartphone application development platforms allowed innovators with a clever idea to reach a global market at nearly marginal cost;
- The value of WTO members learning how non-IP intensive applications like these can facilitate SME exports, noting that every country’s national economy was dominated by SMEs, yet exports were dominated by large companies and transnational corporations (TNCs) – redressing this inequity was in the interests of all countries, at all stages of development;
- Highlighting that countries like Rwanda – who were leveraging ICTs to move from LDC status to middle-income status in only 20 years – had great lessons for other countries to learn from and suggested that the Working Group should take up a focus on how the networked economy can facilitate exports.
- For those countries looking for technical assistance there were excellent opportunities in the services programmes of the International Trade Centre; in the private sector, the technology industry had created the Alliance for Affordable Internet (“A4Ai) precisely to help countries learn from one another what facilitates inward investment and home-grown ICT-driven innovation.
You can listen to his remarks here, starting at 14:05. You can hear the entire session at that link, including the Q&A that followed. The questions asked by delegates indicated that a number of these points resonated with them.
Nick spoke from notes rather than a prepared speech; those are here.