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Further reading

The reading list below provides further details on different aspects of digital trade:

Definitions and key actors

Ciuriak, D. & Ptashkina, M. (2018) The Digital Transformation and the Transformation of  International Trade, Issue Paper, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD).

López González, J. & Jouanjean, M.-A. (2017) Digital Trade: Developing a Framework for Analysis, OECD Trade Policy Papers, 205, OECD Publishing, Paris, France.

  • Both these papers look at definitions of digital trade and try to define a broader set of categories of digital trad,e for better understanding

Weber, S. (2017) Data, Development, and Growth. Business and Politics, 19(3), pp. 397–423.

Mueller, M. & Grindal, K. (2019) Data Flows and the Digital Economy: Information as a Mobile Factor of Production. Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance.

  • Both these papers seek to analyse the role that data flows are playing in economic development. They discuss what it means if these flows are uneven between different countries

Aaronson, S.A. (2016) The Digital Trade Imbalance and Its Implications for Internet Governance, 25, Centre for International Governance Innovation, Waterloo, Canada.

Gao, H. (2018) Digital or Trade? The Contrasting Approaches of China and US to Digital Trade. Journal of International Economic Law, 21(2), pp. 297–321.

  • These papers detail different national positions on digital trade. The first details digital trade in the US, the second China’s position

Foster, C.G. & Azmeh, S. (2020) Latecomer Economies and National Digital Policy: An Industrial Policy Perspective. Journal of Development Studies, 56(7), pp. 1247–1262

  • Discussion of the expansion of national digital policy with a focus on the motivations of latecomer economies

Singh, P.J. (2018) Digital Industrialisation in Developing Countries – A Review of the Business and Policy Landscape, IT for Change, Delhi, India.

  • Discussion of different national digital policies for industrialisation, including a detailed focus of India

Trade Agreements

Azmeh, S., Foster, C.G. & Echavarri, J. (2020) The International Trade Regime and the Quest for Free Digital Trade. International Studies Review, 22(3), pp. 671–692.

  • Discussing the politics of digital trade and the interaction between different levels of trade agreement (e.g. WTO, RTA, FTA)

Kelsey, J. (2018) How a TPP-Style E-Commerce Outcome in the WTO Would Endanger the Development Dimension of the GATS Acquis (and Potentially the WTO). Journal of International Economic Law, 21(2), pp. 273–295.

  • Analysis of WTO debates on e-commerce/digital trade, including how rules interact with other WTO rules

Foster, C. & Azmeh, S. (2018) The Digital Trade Agenda and Africa. Bridges Africa, 7(2).

  • Discussion of the politics and different positions on digital trade related to the crucial 2017 WTO Ministerial

Wu, M. (2017) Digital Trade-Related Provisions in Regional Trade Agreements: Existing Models and Lessons for the Multilateral Trade System, ICTSD, Geneva, Switzerland.

  • Detailed analysis of the content of digital trade chapters in major trade agreements

Rules in trade agreements

Meltzer, J.P. (2015) The Internet, Cross-Border Data Flows and International Trade. Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies, 2(1), pp. 90–102.

  • Provides an overview of the motivations and issues around cross-border data flows

Liu, C. (2011) Internet Censorship as a Trade Barrier: A Look at the WTO Consistency of the Great Firewall in the Wake of the China-Google Dispute. Georgetown Journal of International Law, 42(4), pp. 1199–1242.

  • Law analysis of China’s internet filtering, discussing the potential and challenges of mounting a case at the WTO

Banga, R. (2019) Growing Trade in Electronic Transmissions: Implications for the South, UNCTAD Research Paper, UNCTAD/SER.RP/2019/1, UNCTAD, Geneva, Switzerland.

Kozul-Wright, R. & Banga, R. (2020) Moratorium on Electronic Transmissions: Fiscal Implications and Way Forward, UNCTAD Research Paper, 47, UNCTAD, Geneva, Switzerland.


Smith, S.L. (2017) Some Preliminary Implications of WTOs Source Code Proposal, MC11 briefing paper, Third World Network

  • Written prior to the 2017 WTO ministerial, this paper provides an overview of some of the limitations of including source code rules in trade agreements