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.


Barriers to trade in digitally enabled services in the G20

Digital transformation has enabled easier tradability of traditional services across borders and the emergence of new services that create value from data. But the benefits derived from digitalisation risk being derailed by existing and emerging trade barriers. The OECD Digital Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (Digital STRI) is a new tool that identifies, catalogues, and quantifies cross-cutting barriers between 2014 and 2018 that affect trade in digitally-enabled services across all G20 countries. This index is comprised of a regulatory database of existing trade barriers based on publicly available laws and regulations, as well as composite indices that measure the trade restrictiveness of these policies. The Digital STRI shows that the regulatory environment is complex and diverse across G20 countries, and that there is scope to reduce trade barriers, particularly with respect to communications infrastructure and burdensome measures that affect cross-border data transfers. The Digital STRI can also map regulatory heterogeneity across the G20, and help monitor regulatory convergence, e.g. from regulatory cooperation in trade agreements.


Keywords: digitally enabled services, trade policy, services trade restrictions, G20, digital trade
JEL: F14: International Economics / Trade / Empirical Studies of Trade; F13: International Economics / Trade / Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations; F68: International Economics / Economic Impacts of Globalization / Economic Impacts of Globalization: Policy
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