The Digital Decide: How to Agree on WTO Rules for Digital Trade

Improving global governance
Posted Aug 25, 2021 | Center of International Governance Innovation, James Bacchus

For more than two decades, the 86-member World Trade Organisation has been unable to negotiate specific rules for digital trade. As cross-border trade becomes increasingly digital, especially during and since the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring the free movement of digital goods and services is essential to the global economy. James Bacchus suggests in this special report for the Center of International Governance Innovation that members may agree on global digital trade rules if they accepted the new Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) among Chile, New Zealand and Singapore as a model. As the first “digital only” trade agreement, the DEPA offers a modular approach that allows members to choose which modules work best for them, thereby resolving some of the seemingly intractable digital trade issues that stand in the way of a WTO agreement. while enabling states to adopt more legal commitments on digital trade.



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