This in-depth analysis discusses issues in trade in digitally deliverable services and the geopolitics of digital trade policy. Digitally deliverable services are becoming increasingly important for global value chains, both in terms of final products exported to other countries, and in terms of inputs embedded in manufactured goods. To harness the potential of digital trade in services, both the regulation of the digital means by which a service is traded and the regulation of the services themselves have to be accommodative. Digital trade policy is still in its infancy, and many challenges in terms of policy and measurement remain. Looking at regulation of data flows, the EU’s focus on privacy policy is incompatible with the lais s ez-faire approach pursued by the US administration and the political control of the internet by the Chinese government, limiting the potential for trade in digitally deliverable services and plurilateral agreements on digital trade. However, a number of other major economies are following similar approaches to the EU, which creates the potential for cooperation and intensifying trade in digital services. The EU should also increase its competitiveness in this strategically important services sector by completing the single market with respect to services and capital, and by strengthening research and development in digital technologies.

This study was prepared for the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade (INTA). The study is available on the European Parliament’s online database, ‘ThinkTank‘. Copyright remains with the European Parliament at all times.

Authors

Dennis Görlich - Kiel Institute
Dennis Görlich
Niclas Frederic Poitiers