By Mikael Servilha

[1] [1] Bachelor in Sciences and Humanities and in International Relations from the Federal University of ABC (UFABC), and researcher at the Data Privacy Brasil Research Association. Has been conducting research in international trade and technology, as well as international trade and development.

, Jaqueline Pigatto

[2] [2] Coordinator of the Governance and Regulation area at the Data Privacy Brasil Research Association, and a master's degree holder in International Relations from the San Tiago Dantas Graduate Program (UNESP, UNICAMP, PUC-SP).

and Graciela Rodriguez

[3] [3] Sociologist. Coordinator of REBRIP - The Brazilian Network for the Integration of Peoples. Coordinator of Inst Equit - Gender, Economy, and Global Citizenship.

About the Forum

The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Public Forum is an annual event that brings together representatives from governments, civil society, academics, businesses, and other relevant stakeholders to discuss issues related to international trade. According to the WTO, the 2023 Public Forum is intended to focus on discussing ways in which trade and the WTO can contribute to building a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future. Specifically, it aims to “examine how the services sector, digitalization, and inclusive trade policies can play a key role in this purpose.

The Public Forum of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is an annual event that brings together representatives of governments, civil society, academics, companies, and other actors. Photo: Disclosure.


About the Panel

The panel AI Regulation & Trade: Global South Implications proposed by Data Privacy Brasil and the Brazilian Network for the Integration of Peoples (REBRIP) will take place on the penultimate day of the event (14th)

[4] [4] See:

. At its core, the session aims to shed light on the interaction between the regulatory space for Artificial Intelligence (AI) regulations in Global South countries and ongoing trade negotiations that discipline access to source code and algorithms—both within the framework of the WTO and in regional/bilateral agreements

[5] [5] Given our emphasis from the Global South, this is a proposal for a complementary discussion, particularly in relation to what Professor Dr. Kristina Irion has been discussing regarding the trade and digital regulation policy of the EU. See: Irion, Kristina, Algorithms Off-limits? If digital trade law restricts access to source code of software then accountability will suffer. 2022 ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAccT '22). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 1561–1570. DOI: 

In the realm of trade, rules regarding source code and algorithms have largely been defined in a manner closely aligned with the provisions set forth in the CPTPP

[6] [6] Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.


[7] [7] US-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

agreements—with extensive prohibition of access and transfer requirements. These rules are currently under discussion in plurilateral negotiations on e-commerce within the WTO framework

[8] [8] Today, 89 WTO members are engaged in plurilateral negotiations (Joint Statement Initiative on E-commerce). Within this group, those commonly referred to as developing countries from the Global South include, among others: Argentina, Cameroon, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Uruguay, and Brazil.

. They appear in draft texts released by the European Union (EU) for negotiations with Australia, Chile, Indonesia, Mexico, and New Zealand. Furthermore, there have already been commitments in agreements between the EU and countries such as the United Kingdom and Japan.

The session at the WTO Forum is built upon an initial assessment that the advancement of AI can establish significant interactions with socio-economic development processes and rights. Moreover, it emphasizes that when negotiating rules for source code and algorithms, policymakers must go beyond purely commercial considerations and also recognize the importance of human rights, local needs, inequalities, and power asymmetries between countries.

Thus, the panel aims, above all, to prompt reflection on the set of shared needs in the Global South to promote appropriate AI regulations that ensure a high level of human rights protection and do not impede or clash with trade disciplines. In particular, it examines common trajectories and challenges, and identifies the current social, regulatory, policy, and developmental demands of these countries at a time when AI regulatory models are starting to be debated nationally and commitments for digital trade are being defined on the international arena.

As an example, we can highlight the relationship between the impacts of trade secrets and the rights outlined in the Brazilian AI bill. The bill 2338/2023 aims to establish rights for the protection of the most vulnerable—individuals—impacted daily by AI systems, ranging from content recommendation and targeted advertising on the Internet to eligibility analysis for credit decisions and certain public policies. The bill proposes that obligations be heightened when the AI system produces significant legal effects or significant impacts on individuals, such as the right to contest and also to have human intervention.

The panel will be moderated by Melanie Foley (Global Trade Watch). Among the panelists, we will have Mariana Rielli (Data Privacy Brasil); Sofia Scasserra (Transnational Institute); and Deborah James (Our World is not for Sale).


The Brazilian Network for the Integration of Peoples is a coalition of NGOs, social movements, trade unions, and professional associations that work on Brazilian foreign policy, regional integration processes, and trade. They are committed to building a democratic society based on economically, socially, culturally, ethically, and environmentally sustainable development.

About Data Privacy Brasil

The Data Privacy Brasil Research Association is a nonprofit, nonpartisan civil society organization that promotes the protection of personal data and other fundamental rights from a perspective of social justice and power asymmetries. They believe that ensuring digital rights for everyone is a cornerstone of democracy. Through the creation and dissemination of knowledge and public interest information, they strive to foster a data protection culture guided by a strong social commitment and ethical funding.


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