Trade in the Digital Economy: A tralac guide
This booklet provides a handy guide on e-commerce, the digital economy and trade.
The digitalisation of the economy requires new ways of thinking about competition, intellectual property, taxation, industrial policy, privacy, cybersecurity, the labour market, immigration and skills and, of course trade.
The wheels of international trade are powered by the internet. From the smallest informal trade to a major supply agreement, contracts are transacted online; whether via email, e-commerce store, or digital platform. Any formal trade relies on the internet for implementation – financing, documentation and logistics are all digitally driven, and be- coming more and more so. Whether it is an emailed order, an online purchase, or merely the financial arrangements behind the transaction, the internet will inevitably be used in conducting international trade.
Digitisation has contributed to a changing trade environment in many ways – facilitating multinational value chains, enabling the rise of the micro-multinational and giving us new tradeable goods and services. It is also blurring the traditional boundaries between goods and services, blurring the boundaries between jurisdictions and bringing into question the way our legal and regulatory infrastructure operates at national, regional and global levels. The digital permeates every aspect of trade – from agriculture to clothing, from manufactured goods to business services.
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