Örebro University School of Business

Call for paper

The AI-Econ Lab at Örebro University in association with the RATIO institute and Entrepreneurship Forum invite you to the 2021 annual conference of the TIISA network. The themes this year is trade and the digital transformation of services.


The COVID-19 crisis has seen an acceleration of the digital transformation of services and a rise in remote delivery of services both within and across borders. There is consequently an impetus to update trade policy and regulatory frameworks to unleash the potential for the digital transformation to support sustainable growth and job creation all over the world.

The global rules book on trade in services, the GATS, was established before the commercialization of the Internet, before bundling goods, services, and data into integrated solutions for customers became common, and before digital platforms became global and ubiquitous. Furthermore, IT and AI-based services that did not exist when GATS entered into force have raised new policy issues not foreseen in 1995.

Facing such fundamental challenges, the WTO established the Work Program on Electronic Commerce already in 1998. Its purpose was to investigate the relationship between existing WTO agreements for goods, services and intellectual property rights and e-commerce. The work program made little progress until the Joint Statement Initiative (JSI) on e-commerce was launched at the 11th WTO Ministerial in 2017. A consolidated negotiation text agreed in December 2020 addresses five broad issues: enabling e-commerce, openness, trust, telecommunications, and market access.

Meanwhile, a number of recent Free Trade Agreements (FTA) have included chapters on e-commerce and policies related to international data flows such as privacy, cyber security, electronic payment and data localization. Furthermore, digital economy agreements covering digital trade, collaboration on standards and other regulatory issues have been negotiated for instance between Australia and Singapore.

Areas of particular concern in the current debate, in addition to the five covered by the JSI, are digital services taxes, competition in the digital economy and the interaction between digital transition - including the uptake of artificial intelligence (AI) - digital trade, and jobs. Finally, there is growing concern that the digital gap between rich and poor countries may have widened during the COVID crisis.   


Against this backdrop we invite papers covering, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • The digital transformation of services and the WTO rule book
  • The digital transformation of services: lessons from free trade agreements and digital economy agreements
  • Digital transformation, services trade and jobs
  • Innovation, entrepreneurship and the development of new digital services
  • Regulatory impact on data-driven innovation in (digital) services (e.g. data and privacy protection, GDPR)
  • The role of competition and competition policy in shaping global digital services markets
  • Sector studies of digital transformation and trade (e.g. finance, telecom, media, health, education


2 keynote speakers.

9 papers will be selected.

The papers selected will have:

15 minutes per presentation.

10 minutes for the discussant of the paper.

5 minutes open discussion.

Additional activities: reception, Örebro (10th); policy round table dinner + webinar, Stockholm (11-12th).

Call for papers