• World Trade Report (WTR) is an annual publication that aims to deepen understanding about trends in trade, trade policy issues and the multilateral trading system.
• WTR 2020 looks at the role of innovation and technology policies in an increasingly digitalized world economy, and explains the role of the WTO in this changing context.
Key Highlights of report:
• In the digital age, a growing number of governments are adopting policies aimed at boosting growth through innovation and technological upgrading.
• In India/Digital India’ initiative aims to vastly expand the digital infrastructure and digitally empower the citizens.
• Report warns the transition towards digital economy can have positive spillovers and negative spillovers.
• Positive spillovers: generating growth, creating new markets and encouraging technology diffusion.
• Negative spillovers: distorting trade, diverting investment, or promoting unfair competition with the winner-takes-all characteristics of certain digital industries.
• COVID-19 pandemic is likely to accelerate the shift to digital platforms and technologies significantly.
• WTR recommends new policies such as collaborative research and development support, knowledge diffusion through agglomeration, technological hubs, data policies etc.
• Instead of the more conventional policies focused on tariffs, investment and tax incentives.
Mains Paper 2: International
Prelims level: World Trade Report
Mains level: Key highlights of the report