WTO Progresses with its Ecommerce Work
The WTO has been negotiating at its JSI committee on ecommerce issues for a number of years, as readers of this Newsletter will be aware. Recently the committee has been looking at proposals that address implementation periods for developing countries and capacity building assistance. The Organisation on Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and private sector representatives have presented to the JSI on the importance of free flow of data and the role it plays in reducing cost, encouraging innovation and enabling digital trade. The presentations included examples from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. At a dedicated session on customs duties on electronic transmissions, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) spoke about the benefits of doing business in an environment free of customs duties on electronic transmissions (the WTO’s moratorium). A number of representatives of small businesses from Asia, Africa and Latin America shared their views on how ending the moratorium could negatively affect their operations and undermine the predictably and stability that they currently enjoy.
At another information session on e-payments, private sector representatives shared their experiences. A session on ecommerce and inclusivity provided participants with the opportunity to discuss a proposal on the role of ecommerce in making the benefits of trade available to all members of society, including indigenous people, women, rural communities and micro, small and medium sized enterprises. Members also continued to seek convergence on topics such as privacy, single windows, telecommunications, source code and cryptography.
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