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Bolstering Digital Trade in Latin America: New Nextrade Report

Nextrade Flagship Report for the Inter-American Development Bank shows the power of the Internet in bolstering trade and competitiveness in Latin America

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The Internet roared to the scene in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and it is transforming the way Latin Americans interact, shop, bank, and spend their time. Disruptive digital technologies riding on the web — cloud-based services, e-commerce, 3D printing, Internet of Things, and so on — are empowering regional companies of all sizes to cut costs, improve customer service, and create brand new products and services. The region is also home to innovative digital companies run by intrepid entrepreneurs, some of whom have accessed significant investments from Silicon Valley and grown into some of the world’s leading online businesses.


The digital revolution is also shaping Latin America’s trade patterns. It also creates new scale economies: entrepreneurs and businesses building new digital services and platforms in such areas as payments and shipping can regionalize their offerings at a far lower cost than brick-and-mortar peers, and service multiple markets with a lean staff.


However, there is little data and mostly only anecdotal evidence on the power of the Internet on trade in the LAC region. Data on the barriers to digital trade in the region is still lacking, and a as are fresh ideas on policies to unlock digital trade. This curtails regional policymakers’ ability to make informed policy choices. The purpose of this report is to start filling these knowledge gaps and drive digital trade in Latin America.


The purpose of this report is to start filling these knowledge gaps and unlock the next generation of digital trade in Latin America. We pioneer in mapping out the state and future of digital trade in the LAC region, analyze the impediments to the expansion of the region’s digital trade, and put forth policy recommendations for undoing the barriers to this new, exciting area of international trade. We also analyze the patterns in the geographic expansion of digital businesses and platforms across Latin America.


The report uses both survey data from small LAC companies on the IADB’s Connect Americas platform, and case studies of LAC companies that sell goods and services online, and companies such as ecommerce platforms that provide the infrastructure for the regional digital trade to flow.

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