First Regional Workshop on Measuring Digital Trade concludes in Abu Dhabi

First Regional Workshop on Measuring Digital Trade concludes in Abu Dhabi

The first Regional Workshop on Measuring Digital Trade took place from 20 to 23 November in Abu Dhabi. Co-funded by the Arab Monetary Fund and the WTO, the course was jointly organized with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Other regions will benefit from similar workshops in 2024.

The workshop brought together 24 officials from central banks, national statistics offices, and government ministries from 15 countries across the Arab region. The WTO’s Economic Research and Statistics Division (ERSD) and Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation (ITTC) worked together to organize the workshop jointly with the IMF, OECD and UNCTAD.

The activity was also carried out in cooperation with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA), the United Nations Statistics Department (UNSD), the Arab Institute for Training and Research in Statistics (AITRS) and national experts.

Digital technologies have made it increasingly feasible for buyers and sellers to place and receive orders globally. They enable the remote delivery of services directly into businesses and homes. Digitalization is changing how products are purchased and delivered. Yet, it remains largely invisible in macroeconomic statistics, ultimately hampering policymaking.

The workshop introduced statisticians to the IMF-OECD-UNCTAD-WTO Handbook on Measuring Digital Trade, which establishes the foundation for understanding and measuring digital trade in an internationally comparable way.  Its goal is to help statistical compilers across the world to address policymakers’ demands for better statistics on digital trade.

Course participants learned about the definition and the conceptual framework for measuring digital trade, best data sources, and advances by economies already engaged in the measurement of digital trade — digital ordering and digital delivery across borders — in the region and beyond.  An Arabic version of the Handbook prepared by UNCTAD was made available at the course. (dtlecdc2023d8_ar.pdf (

The regional workshop marks the launch of a joint programme of technical assistance and statistical capacity-building based on the Handbook. The aim of the co-publishers is to help statistical compilers measure, monitor and respond to the challenges of digital trade and to ensure that developing economies receive the technical assistance they need to compile reliable and timely statistics on digital trade.

Other regions will benefit from similar workshops in 2024.

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