Digital Trade and Market Openness

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This paper aims to provide policy makers with a broad overview of the issues that the digital transformation raises for trade with a view to informing how these might be reflected in trade policy design. It discusses how digitalisation has changed international trade and provides estimates of the impact of increased digital connectivity on trade. It shows that digitalisation is particularly important for trade in more complex manufactures and digitally deliverable services; that it helps parties better exploit benefits from trade agreements; and that it gives rise to new complementarities between goods and services. The paper also discusses some trade-related regulatory challenges. Engaging in digital trade in goods means paying attention to a broader range of supporting services, such as logistics or e-payments. Similarly, the ability to engage in trade in services, particularly those that are digitally delivered, is also, in part, affected by market access in ICT goods. The paper argues that making the most out of the digital transformation for trade requires approaching market openness more holistically, thinking about measures affecting goods, services and digital connectivity more jointly, and about measures affecting the full value chain, including the enablers of digital trade and tackling all these through greater international cooperation.


López González, J. and J. Ferencz (2018), "Digital Trade and Market Openness", OECD Trade Policy Papers, No. 217, OECD Publishing, Paris,


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