The Digital Decide: How to Agree on WTO Rules for Digital Trade

Special Report

August 16, 2021

After more than 20 years of unsuccessful negotiations, WTO member countries may be able to agree on global digital trade rules if they look to the new Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) among Chile, New Zealand and Singapore as a model. As the first “digital only” trade agreement, the DEPA offers a modular approach that allows members to pick and choose which modules work best for them today while enabling them to adopt more legal commitments on digital trade in the future. As cross-border trade becomes increasingly digital, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring the free movement of goods and services is essential to the global economy.

About the Author

James Bacchus is a CIGI senior fellow, as well as the Distinguished University Professor of Global Affairs and director of the Center for Global Economic and Environmental Opportunity at the University of Central Florida.