The WTO, the Internet and Trade in Digital Products

Flyer for a new book on electronic trade and WTO: The rapid development of the Internet has led to a growing potential for electronic trade in digital content like movies, music and software. As a result, there is a need for a global trade framework applicable to such digitally delivered content products. Yet, digital trade is currently not explicitly recognised by the trade rules and obligations of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

This study provides a complete analysis of the related challenges in the
ongoing WTO Doha Negotiations to remedy this state of affairs. It elaborates
on the required measures in the multilateral negotiations to achieve market
access for digital content and examines the obstacles that lie on the path to
reach consensus between the United States and the European Communities.
Negotiation parameters analysed include the current US and EC regulatory
approach to audiovisual and information society services and the evolution of
their applicable trade policy jurisdiction. Finally, this examination takes stock of
how the Doha Negotiations and parallel US-driven preferential trade agreement
have so far contributed to securing free trade in digital content.
As new technologies are an increasingly prominent source of trade dispute, this
book is an assessment of how WTO Members can maintain the relevance of
the multilateral trade framework in a changing technological and economic
environment.

Sacha Wunsch-Vincent is Economist at
the Information, Computer and
Communications Policy Division of the
OECD and Visiting Fellow of the Institute
for International Economics. He teaches
international trade at Sciences Po (Paris).