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RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS:  WORKING PAPERS
A Quantitative Assessment of Electronic Commerce

This paper tries to assess quantitatively the role of electronic commerce in economic activity and in trade and tariff revenue collection. The share of value added that potentially lends itself to electronic trade represents around 30 percent of GDP, most importantly distribution, finance and business services. Electronic commerce is also likely to boost trade in many services sectors significantly.

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No:  ERAD-99-01

Authors:

  • Ludger Schuknecht,
    European Central Bank Frankfurt

  • Rosa PÚrez-Esteve

Manuscript date:   September, 1999

Abstract Back to top

This paper tries to assess quantitatively the role of electronic commerce in economic activity and in trade and tariff revenue collection. The share of value added that potentially lends itself to electronic trade represents around 30 percent of GDP, most importantly distribution, finance and business services. Electronic commerce is also likely to boost trade in many services sectors significantly. Despite the growing importance of electronic commerce for economic activity and trade, tariff revenue loss from electronic commerce is likely to be minimal. Trade in potentially digitizable media goods (such as music, software or books) which currently faces a tariff in some countries represents less than one percent of total world trade. The revenue collected on these products amounts to less than one percent of total tariff revenue in most countries. Even if some of this trade moved "online", tariff revenue loss would be only a very small share of tariff revenue.

Keywords Back to top

Electronic commerce, international trade, services trade, tariffs, tariff revenue, technological change

JEL Code: F1, O3

Disclaimer Back to top

This is a working paper, and hence it represents research in progress. This paper represents the opinions of individual staff members or visiting scholars, and is the product of professional research. It is not meant to represent the position or opinions of the WTO or its Members, nor the official position of any staff members. Any errors are the fault of the authors.

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