WTO E-Commerce Negotiations Are Opportunity To Improve Digital Trade

BY Heather Greenfield
May 13, 2019

Washington – Talks are set to take place this week in Geneva on the WTO e-commerce discussions. In January, over 70 WTO members announced their intent to move forward with negotiations on trade-related aspects of e-commerce. The Computer & Communications Industry Association has welcomed the initiative, joining a letter in January encourage parties to seek an ambitious e-commerce framework.

This week will mark the first discussions on text submitted by close to a dozen countries on desired outcomes for the negotiations.

CCIA is encouraged by what is known of member submissions, as it appears that there are a number of positive provisions that will facilitate digital trade. For instance, the U.S. text is closely modeled after the digital trade chapter of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement with strong language on cross-border data flows, prohibition on source code disclosure, and protections for online intermediaries. The EU’s proposal lays out extensive commitments on telecommunications services that promote competition and market access. Many support the continuation of the moratorium on customs duties for electronic submissions.

The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“As countries undertake this important task of setting global rules for the digital economy, they should be ambitious to pursue an agreement that will obtain meaningful commitments to facilitate digital trade. CCIA encourages parties to craft commitments that will facilitate an open Internet and free flow of data across borders, promote frameworks that will build user trust, and remove market access barriers.”

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