Expanding Global Trade through Innovation and the Digital Economy


This is the introductory video of this year’s World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum hosted from Oct 1 to Oct 3. The WTO Public Forum is an annual event that provides a platform for public debate across a wide range of WTO issues and trade topics. The Public Forum is also an opportunity for us in the WTO to listen and exchange views with non-government organizations (NGOs), academia, the private sector, with those of you who are increasingly participating in shaping the world’s economic and political environment. This year’s Public Forum looks at the future of trade in an era of innovation and digitalization.

As put it by Michael Froman, the U.S. Trade Representative :” The global marketplace has experienced a sea change. Combining globalization with new technology and with new business models has dramatically accelerated the pace of change and innovation. The flow of data is as important as the movement of goods. Services are an increasing share of value-added manufacturing. And the market is determining standards at an increasingly rapid pace.”

Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

5 thoughts on “Expanding Global Trade through Innovation and the Digital Economy”

  1. I think that recent generations really do not grasp how good they have it, mine included. Not only the U.S. but our world as a whole has grown so much in just the past decade. Innovation has made our world what it is today. We have lightning fast communication and our intelligence and knowledge only grows with each day. I am currently in 426 and it has made me appreciate my life so much more. Silly things like electricity we take for granted, and learning about how people lived in the 17th century for example can blow your mind. Without the past, present, and future innovations we wouldn’t have anything.

    I agree with the video when they explain how citizens need to think and act globally. We are only as strong as our weakest link, we shouldn’t want other countries to suffer or demise them. We should try our best to work as a whole entity to make our future more promising. We need resources from all around the world to survive, we depend on each other. The future of our trading system, economy, and textile market depend on all of us. We should profit from each other’s innovations.

    1. good comment. The main point of the video is that the amazingly fast advancement of the information technology has turned the 21st global economy be critically different from the past. As one example, digital technology has created many new business models and international trade patterns such as e-commerce which were impossible/did not exist in the old days. These new business models and trade patterns brought in both new opportunities and challenges. This is particularly the case for trade policy. First, the current trade policy/regulations mostly deal with traditional merchandise trade; but specific rules for digital-based trade patterns are largely missing. Particularly, such trade policy making needs to be forward looking because everything changes so fast. Second, limiting imports traditionally is regarded as an effective tool to protect the domestic industry. However, in the digital-based economy, ensuring the free flow of goods, services and capital might add to the competitiveness of an industry rather than creating unnecessary barriers. This calls for a fundamental shift in mindset. Third, companies located in different parts of the world will have more chance working together as collaborators in the digital-based economy. This implies that regulatory coherence across countries will become even more critical in the 21st century to create a business-friendly environment that can promote innovation.

  2. I agree with the video because I think people need to embrace globalization. Everyone seems to be afraid of acting globally because they do not want their countries to prosper, they want them to suffer, in order for them to be profitable. I also agree with the comment above explaining how we need resources from all around the word to survive. This is true, we should help each other because it may be more beneficial for one country to produce a certain good and import a different good and vice versa. If people ever want the economy to improve they need to open their eyes and embrace globalization instead of turning their heads.

  3. This video really reminds you how important technology is to our society. My whole generation is known as the technology generation and that is really true, in the past few decades technology has boomed. There are so many new advancements in our world that a few generations ago people could never even imagine. We take for granted things like running water, electricity and having a car to take us wherever we want to go. We are now spoiled with things like vacuum cleaners that clean on their own, ipads and iphones. We need to all work together and act globally so we can all benefit and grow in a positive direction from technology advancements. Like Christina said we are only as strong as our weakest link. We are all on this earth together, we need to work together to improve this world in a positive way with technology and we should all be able to encourage and benefit from the technological advancements we make.

  4. All different countries have different strengths and specific powers in certain areas. By sharing the different strengths of individual countries through globalization, the pace of innovation is inevitably going to increase at a more rapid pace. And trade is at the heart of lots of these negotiations between countries. Standing as individual countries and trying to develop and innovate just can not compare or compete with the knowledge, technologies, and innovations of many shared countries. Nothing is more important than the flow of data and information between countries. It is through agreements on trade that countries build better relationships and allow more personal information to be shared with each other.

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