Over 2.3 billion people have access to the Internet and this figure is expected to grow to 5 billion by 2020. The growing global reach of the Internet provides new opportunities for businesses across the world to engage in international trade by connecting buyers and sellers, and reducing transaction costs. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and developing country firms are particularly poised to benefit from the Internet’s transformative power.
On February 5, Global Economy and Development at Brookings hosted a discussion on the Internet and global trade. The discussion focused on how current international trade laws and the global trade regime can be reformed to better support SMEs and developing country firms in fully realizing the benefits of the Internet for boosting trade and growth. The panel included: Peter Allgeier, president of the Coalition of Services Industries; Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology for Innovation Foundation; Meredith Broadbent, a commissioner at the U.S. International Trade Commission; and Deepak Mishra, lead economist for East Asia and the Pacific at the World Bank. Brookings Fellow Joshua Meltzer moderated the discussion.