The WTO is about to launch a three-day global forum on trade, innovation and the digital economy. The thesis is simple. We can increase global trade and growth, especially of developing countries, by increasing domestic innovation. This is the theme of this year’s Global Public Forum in Geneva.
The Provision Program includes such topics as: e-commerce, digital innovation, cross-border data flows, intellectual property rights, inter-connected e-platforms, the internet, digital developments.
Clearly the issue of innovation in the context of the digital revolution and trade promotion is extremely important. Global discussion of this is long overdue. While some have discussed this topic, for example within the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and within the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), it is good that the WTO is now looking at this more closely and in the context of global trade. After all, the Uruguay Round was concluded, in 1995, prior to the commercial use of the Internet. Many of the WTO disciplines concerning the multilateral system need to be updated.
The WTO is adding to the general discussion of global trade the newer dimension of how domestic innovation can help developing countries promote greater global trade and their own economic development. This is really important and a very interesting newer topic in global trade relations. Keep posted.