The rapid growth of digital technologies in recent years has facilitated economic activity and created new opportunities for U.S. consumers and businesses. For example, consumers today access e-commerce, social media, telemedicine, and other offerings not imagined 30 years ago. Businesses use advanced technology to reach new markets, track global supply chains, analyze big data, and create new products and services. At the same time, new technologies raise new trade policy issues, including the lack of common disciplines to help govern such trade, the emergence of new trade barriers and broader public policy questions about online information.
Data and data flows form a pillar of innovation and economic growth. Trade in manufactured goods and agricultural products often depends on cross-border data flows. For example, manufacturers may communicate with global customers and suppliers via the internet. Farmers may use real-time satellite data to optimize the productivity of crops and soil. Digitally delivered service exports also rely on cross-border data flows.
In 2017, U.S. exports of information and communication technology (ICT) goods were $146 billion, and ICT services exports were $71 billion. In addition, exports of potential digitally enabled services were $439 billion, comprising over half of U.S. services exports. The volume of global data flows is growing faster than trade or financial flows, and its positive GDP contribution offsets the lower growth rates of trade and foreign direct investment (FDI).
Source: Digital Trade