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.


Digital Trade and Market Openness

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.


Keywords: market openness, e-commerce, digital trade, digital connectivity, gravity, Digital transformation
JEL: F14: International Economics / Trade / Empirical Studies of Trade; O33: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights / Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes; F68: International Economics / Economic Impacts of Globalization / Economic Impacts of Globalization: Policy; F13: International Economics / Trade / Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
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