Services Trade Governance in the Digital Economy


Services are at the frontier of the transformation to a digital economy. R&D as well as information and communication technology drive the transformation and make services more tradable across borders. The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) governing global services trade was designed in the 1980s, before the Internet became a commercial marketplace. This policy brief argues that the architecture of the GATS needs to be reformed to serve its purpose of setting and implementing the rules of global trade in services. It also draws lessons from recent free trade agreements and discusses the role of national governments and regulatory bodies, trade agreements, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) in governing services trade.