Trade in Knowledge and Cross-Border Data Flows: A Look at Emerging Digital Regulatory Issues

Nigel Cory March 14, 2022
March 14, 2022

Abstract

In contrast to the international trade issues around the movement of goods that defined 20th century globalization, trade in the 21st century is increasingly digital and knowledge-based, in large part, as digital technologies enable data-driven innovation, the ongoing disaggregation of production, and the increasing trade in services. Modern trade is more about the movement of bytes, ideas, information, and services, which are subject to a variety of non-tariff policies that affect digital and digitally enabled trade. However, the ever-growing gap between technological innovation and domestic and international policy frameworks shows that many policymakers are struggling to adapt rules and norms to today’s digital economy, which detracts from the potential economic and social benefits of these technologies. In the years ahead, policymakers will face a key choice in deciding whether they want to be bold and adjust policies in order to embrace a truly global market for digitally enabled trade in goods and services.