World Trade Report of WTO: Key Highlights

The World Trade Organisation recently released the World Trade Report, 2020. The report analyses the adoption of government policies to foster technological progress and digital innovation. The report says that due to covid-19 crisis, around 115 countries have adopted new digital and industrial strategies to fasten the transition towards digital economy. This mainly includes tax breaks to facilitate digital innovation, policies to address access to data, technological hub to maximise knowledge diffusion and research and development report.

The increasing importance of data in the digital world is creating higher demand for new international rules on data localisation, privacy protection and data transfer.

Key findings of the report

  • The report highlighted that the World Trade Organisation has supported innovation by eliminating tariffs through the Information Technology Agreement.
  • The report says that Asian power houses which has India China and Japan have contributed to 40% of world research and development in 2017.  The contribution was 8.2 % in 1996.
  • According to the report, Brain gain effects exist in Russia and China but not in India. Brain gain is the increase in number of intelligent and trained professionals entering a country to live and work as the country provides greater opportunities.
  • According to the report, the online platforms have gained significant growth since the start of the pandemic. For instance, the MercadoLibre reported 70.5% increase in revenue in the first quarter of 2020. Similarly, Alibaba reported 22% increase in sales in the first quarter.
  • The main challenge that lies in the changing digital world is to build up necessary infrastructure that facilitates the transition.

About the World Trade Report

It is published annually. It aims to deepen understanding about the trends in trade, issues, policies. The World Trade report, 2020, has focused on technology and innovation policies in the current digitalizing world economy. The report explains the role of the World Trade Organisation in the changing world.

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