Continuing to browse our website indicates your consent to our use of cookies. For more information, see our Privacy Policy.

Digital trade

WTO Chairs Programme – Adapting to the digital trade era: challenges and opportunities


Published 09 March 2021 | 1 minute read

"Adapting to the Digital Trade Era: Challenges and opportunities" looks at how the rapid adoption of digital technologies could help developing countries increase their participation in world trade.

The report looks at how the rapid adoption of digital technologies could help developing countries increase their participation in world trade. It also reviews the role that domestic policies and international cooperation can play in creating a more prosperous and inclusive future for these countries.

It notes that technological change will boost trade growth, as a result of both falling trade costs and the more intensive use of information and communications technology (ICT) services. On average, between now and 2030 global trade growth would be 2 percentage points per annum higher as a result of digital technologies. Further, developing countries’ trade growth would be 2.5 percentage points per annum higher and the increase in their share of global trade will be more pronounced the faster they are able to catch up technologically.

The report finds that services exports will become a bigger part of global trade, making up more than a quarter of total trade by 2030, and technological changes tend to increase the share of services imports in manufacturing gross output. Finally, these technological developments do not appear to portend a reshoring or localization of production, suggesting that future technological change can go in hand-in-hand with continuing globalization.

© The Hinrich Foundation. See our website Terms and Conditions for our copyright and reprint policy. All statements of fact and the views, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this publication are the sole responsibility of the author(s).


The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.

Articles by this expert

View bio

Have any feedback on this article?

contact us