Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies

The Internet, cross-border data flows and international trade

By Joshua Paul Meltzer

The Internet and the free flow of data across borders is becoming a key platform for international trade. Digital products can be sold online and the Internet provides opportunities for business to use the Internet to manage global supply chains, communicate with customers and access IT in the cloud. At the same time, governments are restricting the Internet in ways that reduce the ability of businesses and entrepreneurs to use the Internet as a place for international commerce and limit the access of consumers to goods and services. This article discusses the importance of the Internet and cross-border data flows for international trade. It proposes steps that governments should take to apply existing international trade rules and norms and identifies where new trade rules are required to further support the Internet and cross-border data flows and drivers of international commerce and trade.

PHOTO: Marcela Palma on flickr.

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