21 Sep 2021
Augmenting MSME Participation in Trade with Policy Digitalisation Efforts: Chile’s Contribution to ‘An Internet of Rules’
Journal Article by Craig Atkinson and Nicholás Schubert in a Special Issue (Summer 2021) of Trade, Law and Development on 'Trade and Technology: Rebooting Global Trade for the Digital Millennium', 13(1) TRADE L. & DEV. 80 (2021)
The Internet’s potential to enable micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to conduct international commercial transactions has yet to be fully realised. Small enterprises, especially MSMEs based in developing countries, continue to face substantial obstacles to their participation in trade. While ‘International Economic Law’ has evolved amidst rapid globalisation and technological change, developing countries’ MSMEs are frequently unable to achieve the benefits associated with trade liberalisation. As ‘new generation’ agreements introduce further legal complexity in both the number and scope of trade rules, this article investigates Chile’s application of information and communications technology (ICT) to improve the accessibility and functionality of commercial policies.
With an emphasis on computational approaches to trade policy design and delivery, the Undersecretary of International Economic Relations (SUBREI) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile has launched a pilot programme to contribute to an open repository of rules in a digital form: ‘An Internet of Rules’ (IoR). Along with reference data, the computational expression and online publication of rules, that may be ‘in effect’ or ‘applicable’ to cross-border transactions, can improve access and use by people and machines alike. Against the backdrop of the country’s history of reform and membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP), and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA), the investigation articulates Chile’s ongoing contribution to an IoR as well as the alignment of its policy digitalisation efforts with national development strategies.