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MAY 08, 2020 | GLOBAL

Pandemic Highlighting the Importance of Digital Trade, Could Spur WTO Talks

Inside US Trade, May 8, 2020

By Hannah Monicken

As the pandemic pushes the world online in an effort to slow the virus’ spread, countries – and companies – are reinforcing their commitment to digital trade, and that’s spurred those in Geneva and those watching from the outside to weigh the changes of post-pandemic momentum in the plurilateral talks on electronic commerce at the World Trade Organization.

How global trade will be different in a post-COVID world can’t be fully known today, analysts told Inside US Trade, but they added that the pandemic has accelerated a digitization trend – and firmly established digital trade as a defining issue.

The pandemic has “sped up, increased, enhanced the need for digitization,” Christine Bliss, president of the Coalition of Services Institutes, said. And this, in turn, has “underscored the importance” of cross-border data flows, Joseph Whitlock, director of policy for BSA | The Software Alliance, told Inside US Trade this week.

Supply chains are also important in digital trade, Whitlock said. Information and communication technology supply chains must be operational so that countries can source the equipment needed for remote work, online shopping and securing digital infrastructure.

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Original Posting: https://insidetrade.com/share/168784

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