The CPTPP’s Impacts on Digital Trade and the Path Forward

In 2018, 11 countries—Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam—came together to sign the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The agreement deepened the liberalization of trade in goods and services among the members and broke new ground addressing digital trade issues via a comprehensive e-commerce chapter. This report seeks to provide early insight into the CPTPP’s potential effects by: (1) looking at trade and investment flows in the CPTPP region in the past few years; (2) exploring the views of firms in the CPTPP region on the agreement and especially its e-commerce chapter; and (3) presenting preliminary findings on the CPTPP’s unique impacts relative to other factors that have shaped trade and e-commerce patterns in the region, such as other recent trade agreements, trade wars, and the Covid-19 crisis. 
This report covers five topics:



  • Two Years into the Deal: What are CPTPP members’ trade and investment patterns?
  • The Impacts of the CPTPP’s E-commerce Chapter: What do businesses in CPTPP member economies think about the CPTPP’s e-commerce chapter, its impacts, and its enforcement?
  • Growing the Bloc: What would countries that aspire for CPTPP membership bring to the table, and how would they benefit, especially from the CPTPP’s e-commerce provisions?
  • Impacts on Trade: How has the agreement affected the trade of CPTPP members? Is it possible to tell?
  • Beyond the CPTPP: What are the lessons learned from CPTPP countries negotiating e-commerce related provisions in trade agreements?

This report was made possible by generous funding from Google.

Kati Suominen
Adjunct Fellow (Non-resident), Scholl Chair in International Business