WTO publication examines opportunities and challenges of digital trade

The World Trade Organization (WTO) released a new study entitled ‘Adapting to the Digital Trade Era: Challenges and opportunities’, which examines how the rapid adoption of digital technologies could help developing countries increase their participation in global trade. It further looks at how countries in different developing regions view the challenges and opportunities of digital technologies, using examples from country case studies. A section on digital advances identifies opportunities to promote inclusive growth such as the potential of blockchain in helping women overcome barriers to trade and lower the cost of cross-border payments, security compliance, and trading. Yet, if not regulated properly, an advanced deployment of blockchain could cause higher barriers to trade for women or increase the relative return to more sophisticated technical skills that men are likely to have. The study also explores the role that domestic policies and international cooperation can play in creating a more prosperous and inclusive future for these countries and underpins how international cooperation is essential to maximise benefits and limit costs.