WASHINGTON (April 6, 2020) – A large group of members of the World Trade Organization are beginning to negotiate new rules on digital trade and e-commerce. Likewise, the United States has recently enacted the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which includes new digital trade rules.

In a new policy short, R Street Trade Policy Counsel Clark Packard finds that after World War II, the United States showed enormous leadership and foresight in creating the modern rules-based trading system.

He claims that today’s global trading system works pretty well, but it has not kept pace with the times. As the nature of commerce has changed because of the rise of the internet, the rules haven’t changed. New rules are necessary to ensure the system is meeting the needs and realities of the 21st century.

Packard argues that the United States should pursue a bold negotiating agenda in drafting new digital trade rules—one that aggressively tries to curb digital protectionism.

The author concludes that “by pushing for new rules, grounded in a commitment to nondiscrimination and the free flow of goods and services, the United States is well positioned to replicate the type of indispensable leadership it showed in the creation of the rules-based trading system in the late 1940s, and to create a new frontier for commerce in the 21st century.”