Of bytes and trade: Quantifying the impact of digitalisation on trade

This paper provides an overview of the evolving nature of digital trade and digital trade policies. It shows that digital trade has been growing faster than “non-digital” trade. By 2018, 24% of global trade (USD 5.1 trillion) could be considered digital trade. In parallel, countries have embraced digital trade provisions in trade agreements and new digital economy agreements have emerged. The empirical analysis shows that growing digital connectivity delivers a double dividend, increasing both domestic and international trade. It also shows that digital trade chapters have the potential to double the effect of trade agreements, while reductions in domestic barriers affecting digital trade have a strong export-enhancing effect, particularly in digitally-deliverable services. Overall, the results suggest that digital connectivity and digital trade policies play a significant and growing role in reducing trade costs and increasing trade across countries at all levels of development. The paper calls for wider participation and ambition in discussions at the WTO.

Available from May 03, 2023

In series:OECD Trade Policy Papersview more titles