OTTAWA, April 11 /CNW/ - Canada has a window of opportunity to show
global leadership as the world grapples with the changes that
digitization presents for global trade. A new Conference Board of
Canada report argues that digitization has opened up new trading
possibilities, but Canada has not yet put forward a leading-edge, clear
digital trade strategy.
Digitization - translation of real-world information into a form that
can be sent anywhere in the world using information and communication
technologies- is now fundamental to every kind of international trade
and investment. However, Canadian and global trade policy and research
have focused largely on traditional trade barriers, such as tariffs. In
a digital world, barriers to information flows - such as threats by
India, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and other countries to ban
access for Research in Motion's BlackBerry devices - can frustrate the
expansion of trade.
"With thoughtful and forward-thinking policies, Canada could have a
major impact on emerging policy in this area. Where Canada has a strong
stake, it could shape policies that support greater confidence in
digital technologies and trade, while balancing other public interest
goals, such as privacy and security," said Danielle Goldfarb, Associate
Director, International Trade and Investment Centre, author of Canada's Trade in a Digital World (http://www.conferenceboard.ca/reports/briefings/tradingDigitally/default.aspx).
Compared to its international peers, Canada has a solid foundation in
terms of its technology infrastructure and ability to use it. But
Canada was once considered a global leader in terms of its digital
economy strategy. In recent years, our position has slipped as other
countries have made concerted investments in infrastructure and adopted
leading-edge technology practices.
Digitization is now fundamental to every kind of trade and investment.
The ability to digitize information opens up new global trade and
investment possibilities, such as trade in virtual markets and trade in
digital products (video games, for example). It also changes and
increases trade in the same parts, products, and services that we have
been trading in for decades - including making it easier to coordinate
across global value chains.
To help Canadian companies benefit from globalization, Canada's "digital
trade and investment strategy" needs to look beyond traditional
policies that focus on tariffs to address barriers to digital trade,
such as restrictions on data flows, services, people movements,
technology trade, and investment. Policies are in flux, so Canadian
governments have an opportunity to help shape the global agenda.
Businesses will need to more widely adopt digital technologies, identify
their relative strengths in producing and using digitization, and
rethink how it changes - or does not change - the way they and their
competitors trade in global markets. (For example, evidence presented
in the publication suggests that physical networks still matter for
trade, even with rapid growth in online social networks.)
This briefing is the first to consider the effect of digitization on
Canada's global trade and related policies. The report is published by
The Conference Board of Canada's International Trade and Investment
Centre (http://www.conferenceboard.ca/ITIC/default.aspx). The Centre is intended to help Canadian leaders better understand
what global economic dynamics —such as global and regional supply
chains, barriers to trade, U.S. policies, or tighter border
security—could mean for public policies and business strategies.
SOURCE CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA
For further information:
Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 448