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The World Trade Organisation’s Negotiations on Ecommerce

The WTO Ecommerce Joint Statement Initiative (JSI) negotiations on ecommerce continued to seek convergence on various topics during their September meetings. The co-convenors of the negotiations — Australia, Japan, and Singapore — welcomed Mauritius as a new participant, bringing the total number of WTO members participating in the ecommerce initiative to 87. The latest cluster of meetings tackled several topics, including implementation periods for a future agreement on ecommerce, in particular for developing and least-developed countries, access to online platforms, and competition in ecommerce. The negotiators continued to seek convergence on topics such as cyber security, privacy, telecommunications services, electronic invoicing, and electronic transaction frameworks. Two more clusters of meetings will take place in October and November, with co-convenors aiming to issue a more streamlined negotiating text towards the end of this year.

A “stocktaking session” looked at several proposals that have not yet attracted universal support from participants in the negotiations. The proposals were examined to help their proponents decide how to take these proposals forward. Following the withdrawal of proposals from single proponents in July, a further proposal was withdrawn in September due to a lack of support.

SA refuses to take part in the JSI work, despite the obvious advantages to do so

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