Towards a New Treaty on Digital Trade

Forthcoming in Journal of World Trade 55:1 (2021)

24 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2020 Last revised: 11 Jan 2021

Date Written: June 10, 2020


Digital trade is one of the very few areas of trade law, where one can observe a willingness shared by the international community to move forward and actively engage in new rule-making. The article contextualizes and explores this development by looking at the relevant e-commerce provisions in preferential agreements, in particularly by highlighting the legal innovation in the most advanced templates of the CPTPP and the USMCA, as well as in dedicated digital trade agreements, such as the ones between the United States and Japan and between Chile, New Zealand and Singapore. The article then looks at the WTO negotiations and tries to identify points of convergence and divergence reflected in the latest negotiation proposals tabled by WTO members. It is the article’s objective to test these proposals, as to their potential to permit the adoption of a new treaty on digital trade and to their ability to adequately address the practical reality of the data-driven economy.

Keywords: digital trade, electronic commerce, World Trade Organization, preferential trade agreements, data and data flows, CPTPP, USMCA, DEPA

Suggested Citation

Burri, Mira, Towards a New Treaty on Digital Trade (June 10, 2020). Forthcoming in Journal of World Trade 55:1 (2021), Available at SSRN:

Mira Burri (Contact Author)

University of Lucerne ( email )

Frohburgstrasse 3
PO Box 4466
Lucerne, 6002


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