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Digital Trade Rules: Key Issues, International Situation and Policy Options (No.263, 2020)

Dec 22,2020

By Xiong Hongru, Ma Yuan, Chen Hongna & Tian Jietang, Research Team on “WTO Reform Trend and Key Issues”, DRC

Research Report, No.263, 2020 (Total 6007) 2020-11-5

Abstract: Establishing and improving an institutional framework for the development of digital trade is the most important new topic in the field of international trade and one of the most concerned issues for the reform of WTO. Cross-border data flows, digital taxation, localization of data (facilities), access to digital trade markets, protection of digital intellectual property rights, and facilitation of cross-border e-commerce are key issues in establishing a global digital trade framework. Currently, there is no consensus on the rules of cross-border data flow, digital product and service taxation. The stances on data (facilities) localization and classification of as well as access to cloud-computing services differ among various parties. There are demands to protect digital intellectual property rights, and the rules of digital trade facilitation are still unclear. China supports negotiations on new issues and new rules on digital trade under the WTO framework, supports the WTO in playing a key role in addressing cross-border data flows, sets up digital taxation rules encouraging innovation and ensuring fairness, establishes data localization rules based on ensuring network safety, take care of concerns of each and every party in terms of digital market access, properly protects digital intellectual property rights , and actively promotes facilitation of digital trade.

Keywords: digital trade, system framework, international rules, reform policy options