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Digital trade in Latin America: mapping issues and approaches

Carolina Aguerre (Universidad de San Andres, Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance

ISSN: 2398-5038

Article publication date: 17 December 2018

Issue publication date: 23 January 2019




In Latin America, digital trade is still a marginal issue in the internet policy and governance debate, as well as in the trade regime. However, there are signs that this is beginning to change. This paper aims to discuss why this is changing and how, against the backdrop of the internet governance field.


The research has used a mixed methods approach based on interviews and participant observation in one regional process, as well as an extensive literature review and document analysis.


There is a current scenario for expanding the digital trade agenda in the regional commercial blocs with the aim of rapidly incorporating them to a process of digitization that will be challenging their economic foundations. The tangibility of the impact of the expanding digital economy is much more prevalent than other internet governance debates, and these initiatives seem to be adopting a pragmatic approach, rather than questioning the existing rules that govern the trade and the internet regimes. There are significant challenges emerging from a fragmented institutional background for trade-related policy in the region and the digital single market might be one of the solutions. Finally, domestic coordination among competing laws regarding data protection and their enforcement without conflicting with cross border data flows will be a challenge to be addressed.


There is a lack of evidence-based research on the subject in the region. Many of the accounts stem from normative perspectives (many from scholars with legal backgrounds). This paper explores the connections between the internet governance regime and the emerging digital trade based on existing policies and processes.



Aguerre, C. (2019), "Digital trade in Latin America: mapping issues and approaches", Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 2-18.



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