3 Sep 2013
New Digital Trade Rules
A presentation by Mira Burri as a contribution to the e15 initiative on trade and innovation.
Innovation and new technologies are key drivers of economic growth and job creation. While trade liberalisation and investment flows contribute to technology diffusion and innovation, absorptive capacity plays a key role and the strengthening of national innovation capabilities can improve a country’s ability to engage in and benefit from international trade. Promoting innovation is thus a critical policy objective pursued by many governments in the context of a changing global landscape where global value chains have become a key conduit for technology diffusion, ICT goods and services are important drivers of business and growth, and intellectual property is a strategic asset for achieving a competitive edge in global markets. Despite its growing prominence in the global agenda, innovation has received relatively little attention as a self-standing all-encompassing issue in the multilateral trading system. There is no single overarching WTO agreement that deals with innovation. Innovation related policies and measures span a wide range of WTO disciplines and rules relating to subsidies, intellectual property, information technology, investment, trade in services, and government procurement. Against this background, there is a pressing need for a fresh look at the trade and innovation nexus. The task of the expert group is to explore options to enhance the contribution of the multilateral trading system in support of global and national innovation efforts. Mira Burri contributed in particular on the adaptation of trade rules to reflect the changed conditions of digital trade.