Policy Article

Digital Services and Data Flows in Global Trade


  • Görlich
  • D.
  • Poitiers
  • N.F.
Publication Date

Digital trade is on the rise, but it is not yet well understood and remains largely unregulated. Trade is typically considered to be digital when part of the transaction is conducted electronically, for example buying goods online or consuming a digital service (e.g. López González & Jouanjean, 2017). One key difference of digital trade, compared to traditional trade in goods and services, is that it involves cross-border data flows (Aaronson & Leblond, 2018). While simple data exchanges for facilitating the shipment of a good are unproblematic, data policies of trading partners and their countries become a central issue when the cross-border data exchange involves personal data, business data or intellectual property. In order to tap the full potential of digital trade for growth, productivity and welfare, regulatory adjustments at the global level are required.


Key Words

  • cross-border data flows
  • digital governance
  • digital trade
  • geopolitics
  • services trade