Rapid digitalization amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is spurring the growth of services trade. The pandemic has further prompted the transition of economic activities into the digital mode of transactions for a wider range of services. Mobility restrictions and physical distancing during the pandemic is accelerating digitalization of provision of services across borders. Digital services trade is expected to grow further post pandemic from risk management and cost-efficiency perspectives.
Asia and the Pacific has seen rapid growth in digital services trade from 17% to 24% of global share between 2005 and 2020, and is at the forefront in such areas as business process outsourcing and information and technology services. Yet, the region is still behind other advanced economies such as the EU and North America in the share of digital services exports out of total goods and services exports, which translates into lower revealed comparative advantage for the region.
In order to unlock the potential of digital services trade, Asian countries need to invest in human and physical capital, expand ICT infrastructure and improve the regulatory and policy environment. Trade liberalization and domestic reforms could reinforce the positive impacts. This webinar will shed light on these crucial issues and explore ways to harness that digital services trade offers to the region.
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