The Digital Transformation and the Transformation of International Trade

RTA Exchange. Geneva: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB

39 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2018 Last revised: 31 Mar 2021

See all articles by Dan Ciuriak

Dan Ciuriak

Ciuriak Consulting Inc.; Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI); C.D. Howe Institute; Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada; BKP Development Research & Consulting GmbH

Maria Ptashkina

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Department of Economics and Business; International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)

Date Written: January 23, 2018

Abstract

The digital transformation has facilitated old modes of trade and business models and enabled the creation of entirely new ones. Digital disruption is being felt across all modes of trades: digital versions of products or services compete with physically embodied versions; and digital distribution/facilitation business models compete with traditional distribution business models. Net neutrality, digital market access, data localization and freedom of cross-border data flows, privacy, and conditions of competition are just a few of the regulatory issues raised as the digital transformation changes the way international trade is conducted. To facilitate the analysis of the role that trade agreements play or might play, this note suggests a classification of the modes in which trade is conducted as it progressively shifts into the digital or digitally-facilitated realm. We also identify the areas where resistance has been encountered, categorize the nature of the measures that have been introduced, and review the approaches taken by the major digital economy players in framing regulations for digital and digitally-enabled trade in the regional trade agreements in which they are engaged. Against this background, we draw conclusions for the prospects of a multilateral agreement to set out the rules of the road to enable inclusive growth in the knowledge-based and data-driven economy that the digital transformation is bringing into being.

Keywords: digital trade, regional trade agreements, e-commerce

JEL Classification: F13, F15, F61, F68, K21, K24

Suggested Citation

Ciuriak, Dan and Ptashkina, Maria, The Digital Transformation and the Transformation of International Trade (January 23, 2018). RTA Exchange. Geneva: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3107811

Dan Ciuriak (Contact Author)

Ciuriak Consulting Inc. ( email )

83 Stewart St.
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6H9
Canada

Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) ( email )

57 Erb Street West
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6C2
Canada

C.D. Howe Institute ( email )

67 Yonge St., Suite 300
Toronto, Ontario M5E 1J8
Canada

Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada ( email )

Canada

HOME PAGE: http://ciuriakconsulting.com/

BKP Development Research & Consulting GmbH ( email )

Romanstrasse 74
M√ľnchen, 80639
Germany

Maria Ptashkina

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Department of Economics and Business ( email )

Barcelona
Spain

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.upf.edu/web/econ/phd-students

International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) ( email )

International Environmental House 2
Chemin de Balexert 7
Chatelaine, Geneva, GE 1219
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.ictsd.org/about-us/maria-ptashkina

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