WASHINGTON—Without a single, integrated market for digital goods and services, Latin American businesses will have difficulty gaining the scale typically required for success in the digital economy. To overcome this challenge, a new report released today by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the world’s top-ranked science and technology policy think tank, calls on Latin American policy leaders to pursue an assertive agenda for open and innovative digital trade and recommends specific policies to support such an agenda.
“Latin America’s long-term economic prosperity depends on increasing its participation in the digital economy,” said ITIF Vice President Daniel Castro, co-author of the report. “An ambitious digital trade agenda would accelerate the development of individual digital economies, as well as move Latin America toward a sorely needed integrated digital single market.”
According to the report, a digital trade agenda for Latin America should embrace openness, innovation, and competition within the region, following the model of the Asia-Pacific Economic Community rather than the more closed and heavily regulated European Union model.
The report recommends that Latin American nations:
- Improve trade facilitation for small packages;
- Address broader trade-facilitation issues;
- Establish intermediary liability protections;
- Enable the free flow of data;
- Centralize spectrum management;
- Eliminate tariffs on information and communication technology products;
- Provide more open access to service markets;
- Not regulate online platforms and “over-the-top” services as telecom providers.
“Removing barriers and enacting compatible frameworks for digital trade would provide firms in Latin America with greater economies of scale needed to succeed in the global digital economy,” said Nigel Cory, ITIF associate director for trade policy and co-author of the report. “Without a shared approach, Latin American countries will head towards digital protectionism, and the gap between leaders in the global digital economy will continue to increase.”