CWR > Volume 5(1); 2019 > Correspondence
Research Paper
Published online: March 1, 2019

Digitalization of Trade in Free Trade Agreements with Reference to the WTO and the USMCA: A Closer Look

Bashar H. Malkawi
Law at the University of Sharjah
University of Sharjah, College of Law, P.O. Box 27272-Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Millions of people worldwide use the Internet. One of the many uses derived from the Internet is the development of digital trade. Digital trade thus lends itself to distinctive issues. The WTO members recognized the benefits digital trade offers and have developed a work program to facilitate the digital trade. However, their efforts have stalled, slowing down the anticipated progress. The author will try to address how the WTO supports and deals with digital trade. This essay briefly discusses the historical advancement of the Internet; defines the concept of digital trade and its development in the international market; analyzes how existing WTO agreements have dealt with digital trade; and then addresses recent trade agreements particularly the USMCA. The USMCA was chosen because it involves the largest economy in the world and the US could use its provisions as template for future trade agreements.

Keywords : USMCA, WTO, Digitalization of Trade, FTA, Internet

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