July 3rd, 2012 | Published in Google Public Policy
Thanks to the Internet, trade has never been easier. The ability to trade goods and services online has helped companies large and small to reach a global marketplace. And the web has also enabled another important cross-border transaction: the free flow of information without restriction.
This month, yet another country acknowledged the importance of having a consistent framework for cross-border flows of goods, services, and information. Mauritius is the first African country to sign a joint agreement with the U.S. that supports government transparency, open Internet networks, and cross-border information flows.
This agreement has significant implications for Mauritius’ economy. While South Africa hasn’t yet fully embraced the Internet, the sector already contributes up to 2 percent (or $7.1 billion/R59-billion) of the country’s GDP, according to a recent report by World Wide Worx. As the Internet grows, countries that are open to the free flow of goods and information will enable their businesses to trade, negotiate and advertise freely. In the long run, these solid business practices will lead to more exports and more jobs.
We encourage more governments and industries to take action so that their citizens have access to the Internet and their businesses are able to sell goods and services across borders, with the help of the Internet.