Introduction: Digital Technologies and International Trade Regulation
University of Bern Law School - World Trade Institute
University of Bern - Institute of European and International Economic Law
September 28, 2011
TRADE GOVERNANCE IN THE DIGITAL AGE, Mira Burri, Thomas Cottier, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2012
Digital technologies have had and continue to have profound effects on societal life. The transformations range from the trivial to the momentous – from online shopping, through the emergence of global value chains, to the very ways we work and communicate, create, distribute and access information. International trade regulation has so far not reacted in a forward-looking manner to the digital revolution, and in particular at the multilateral level, legal engineering has yielded few tangible results. Despite the lack of deliberate response so far and irrespective of Doha, the law of the World Trade Organization (WTO) possesses intrinsic flexibility and resilience, both in the substance and in the procedural mechanisms, that may still appropriately accommodate the changes brought about by burgeoning digital trade. This adaptive governance intrinsic to the WTO may nonetheless be insufficient, as the digital networked environment raises more fundamental and complex questions that transcend market access and liberalisation, and demand cooperation and coherent regulatory design.
The present paper is the introductory chapter to a book that seeks to reveal the potential, as well as the limitations of the WTO framework with regard to digital trade.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 14
Keywords: digital technologies, digital trade, international trade regulation, WTO law and policyAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: September 28, 2011 ; Last revised: March 14, 2012
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