Future of Trade Initiative

The rise of e-commerce has redefined the trade landscape, posing vast opportunities for growth as well as urgent security challenges.

A quiet revolution has taken place in international trade without government policy direction or much public fanfare: the rise of cross-border online trade as individuals and businesses of all size increasingly engage in global commerce by selling goods and services online. Online commerce reduces trade costs as well as enables businesses to accelerate export diversification and sustain export-led growth. The vast majority of small businesses that are using digital platforms to sell goods and services also engage in cross-border trade in stark contrast to the world of offline trade where only a fraction of businesses export. Yet despite its vast growth potential, digital commerce continues to pose policy challenges that require attention. In an ongoing study made possible by generous funding from eBay Inc., CSIS aims to analyze these emerging trends and to develop actionable policy recommendations that encourage and expand digital trade while also addressing the numerous security gaps it exposes.

Working Papers