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WTO Working Papers

WTO working papers usually represent research in progress. Such research may be conducted in the preparation of WTO Secretariat reports, studies or other material for WTO members. The papers are circulated for comment because the WTO considers critical review of professional research to be extremely important.

English

A Quantitative Assessment of Electronic Commerce

This paper tries to assess quantitatively the role of electronic commerce in economic activity and in trade and tariff revenue collection. The share of value added that potentially lends itself to electronic trade represents around 30 percent of GDP, most importantly distribution, finance and business services. Electronic commerce is also likely to boost trade in many services sectors significantly. Despite the growing importance of electronic commerce for economic activity and trade, tariff revenue loss from electronic commerce is likely to be minimal. Trade in potentially digitizable media goods which currently faces a tariff in some countries represents less than one percent of total world trade. The revenue collected on these products amounts to less than one percent of total tariff revenue in most countries. Even if some of this trade moved “online”, tariff revenue loss would be only a very small share of tariff revenue.

English

Keywords: services trade, Electronic commerce, technological change, international trade, tariff revenue, tariffs
JEL: O3: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights; F1: International Economics / Trade
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