OECD Trade Policy Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected trade policy studies prepared for use within the OECD.

NB. No. 1 to No. 139 were released under the previous series title OECD Trade Policy Working Papers.


Approaches to market openness in the digital age

The digital transformation has had a profound impact on international trade, lowering barriers to internationalisation and contributing to growing trade competitiveness, but at the same time making international trade transactions more complex. Distinctions between goods and services and between modes of delivery have become blurred, and trade today must not only to be faster and more reliable, but also meet a range of regulatory requirements that differ across markets, including those related to privacy, consumer protection and security. Against this backdrop, this paper suggests that new and more holistic approaches to market openness are needed for the 21st century. These should take into consideration issues that span goods, services and digital networks more jointly and involve more international dialogue between a range of stakeholders and policy communities. The paper then discusses how principles of good regulatory practice in relation to market openness – in particular, transparency, non-discrimination, interoperability and avoidance of unnecessary trade restrictiveness – can provide guidance when approaching some of these emerging challenges, with a view to helping inform policy makers as they consider rules for the digital age.


Keywords: digitalisation, trade policy, Digital trade, data flows, market openness
JEL: F13: International Economics / Trade / Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations; O33: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights / Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
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