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WTO Ecommerce Committee

This Newsletter  has reported on the ongoing activities of the World Trade Organisation working party on ecommerce. At their last meeting of 2020, the co-conveners of the negotiations  (Australia, Japan, Singapore) said there had been  progress to achieve convergence on the negotiating text. They believe that the latest consolidated text will provide a common basis to advance members’ work in 2021. The work of this committee is important for the future of the AfCFTA’s proposed Protocol on ecommerce. The AfCFTA Secretary General, Dr Mene, made it clear last year that the AfCFTA will follow the lead of the WTO on ecommerce. A number of key issues are involved – including where does taxation fall in a cross-border sale? Product safety; the so-called ‘Moratorium’ on customs duties on electronic transfers cross-frontier and the controversial issue of data sovereignty.

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Alastair Tempest

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