Supporting the Internet as a Platform for International Trade: Opportunities for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Developing Countries

56 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2014

Date Written: February 24, 2014

Abstract

This paper is about the potential of the Internet as a platform for international trade, with a focus on the opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises and developing countries. The Internet has evolved since the 1990's from an online storefront into a means for businesses to reach consumers globally and as a business input that can increase the productivity and ability of businesses to compete. Additionally, these commercial opportunities are no longer limited to Internet companies but are available for business in all sectors of the economy. There are however, a range of restrictions that prevent the realization of the potential of the Internet to grow international trade. These include limits on Internet access, particularly in developing countries. Restrictions on cross-border data flows and market access restrictions on trade in goods and services are also important. Different consumer protection laws across jurisdiction and limited access to dispute settlement for online transaction create risk in using the Internet to engage in international trade. This paper analyzes these restrictions and proposes how international trade law and policy and respond.

Keywords: Internet, Trade, WTO, FTA, Data

JEL Classification: F1, K33, O1

Suggested Citation

Meltzer, Joshua P, Supporting the Internet as a Platform for International Trade: Opportunities for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Developing Countries (February 24, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2400578 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2400578

Joshua P Meltzer (Contact Author)

Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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