Rapid digitalization amid the COVID-19 pandemic is spurring the growth of digital services trade around the globe. At the forefront is the Asia and Pacific region, demonstrating the highest growth in digital services trade. The theme chapter of the Asian Economic Integration Report 2022 explores how the region can capitalize on the growing opportunities of digital services trade through structural reforms and international cooperation.


Rapid digitalization during the COVID-19 pandemic is expanding opportunities for digital services trade.

Cross-border services are increasingly delivered online instead of physically.

These include financial, legal, information and telecommunications, health, education, and other business services.

Digital services trade can contribute to economic welfare and development.

There are many potential synergies between digital services trade and other sectors.

Growth in digital services trade in Asia and the Pacific is among the highest in the world.

However, digital services trade as a share of total services trade in Asia still has room to grow.

Closing the gap requires improving competitiveness in digital services.

The region needs to invest more in human capital and ICT infrastructure.

Policy and regulatory reforms are the key to higher competitiveness.

International cooperation can reduce barriers to digital services trade, promote system interoperability, and ensure fair taxation.

Challenges must also be overcome to realize the full potential of digital services trade.

Economic and social inequality between those with and without digital skills may worsen.

Growing digital services trade calls for renewed attention to cybersecurity and privacy.

What does it take to ensure that digital services trade contributes to inclusive growth in Asia and the Pacific?

To find out, read the latest Asian Economic Integration Report.