The digital transformation has facilitated old modes of trade and business models and enabled the creation of entirely new ones. Digital disruption is being felt across all modes of trade: digital versions of products or services compete with physically embodied versions; and digital distribution/facilitation business models compete with traditional distribution business models. To facilitate the analysis of the role that trade agreements play or might play, this paper suggests a classification of the modes in which trade is conducted as it progressively shifts into the digital or digitally facilitated realm. Against this background, the authors draw conclusions for the prospects of a multilateral agreement to set out the rules of the road to enable inclusive growth in the knowledge-based and data-driven economy that the digital transformation is bringing into being.
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