US protectionism could set off a digital trade war

National security is the new cover for US protectionism. President Donald Trump signed his steel and aluminium tariffs under that false guise.

But metal bending is not the most worrisome new area for protectionism. Trade in physical goods and services has been flat for years, but digital flows of commerce and information have risen by 45-fold in the past decade, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 13, 2018, with the headline 'US protectionism could set off a digital trade war'. Subscribe