E-commerce

Discussions on electronic commerce at the WTO gained momentum in 2016 and engagement remains high to date. Many ideas have been put forward by members on how the WTO should address e-commerce given the changing nature of trade. While the benefits of e-commerce are many and well-known, development-related challenges ranging from infrastructure to capacity constraints remain and need to be addressed.

Three years ago, the World Trade Organization (WTO) set up a platform to enable a series of dialogues among key stakeholders, where they can debate and highlight issues they find important in the agenda of the Organization.

At the request of ICC and the B20, the first of these ‘Trade Dialogues’ with business was held at the WTO’s headquarters in May 2016. Since then, a number of events have taken place. This dialogue has been extremely constructive. It helped to spark a number of conversations among WTO members on pressing business issues.

Business recommendations on electronic commerce, investment facilitation, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and sustainable development have helped to inform Members’ work at the WTO.

ICC, in cooperation with the B20, are eager to further contribute to these discussions and negotiations in an increasingly practical and focused manner. We would therefore like to identify good regulatory examples on each issue and suggest specific legal texts which could help WTO members in discussing new rules in these areas. The specific legal texts could draw on rules under which businesses have already been operating – mostly in the context of regional trade agreements (RTAs).

To enable this contribution, ICC in cooperation with the B20 has now put in place an online Trade Dialogues platform. Through this platform, you will find background notes and existing RTAs rules on each area of discussion: electronic commerce, investment facilitation, MSMEs and sustainable development. You will be able to share your views and suggestions on the way forward and on specific legal texts in the private section.

We invite you to join this exercise. The conclusions will be presented to WTO members at the next WTO Public Forum (October 2019).

We aim to consolidate suggestions by 20 September and circulate them for further comments. We will not be looking for absolute consensus on each and every suggestion, but rather have a set of suggestions that could contribute to work at the WTO.

You can find a list of initially invited partipants by clicking here

If you would like to participate or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at trade-dialogues@iccwbo.org

We want to thank you for your active interest and involvement in this process.

Related documents

Recommended Priorities for the WTO E-Commerce Discussions

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ICC and B20 Trade Dialogues event

Summary of points raised by business representatives
Download PDF

RTAs E-Commerce Provisions

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A WTO reform agenda

Data flows and international regulatory cooperation
Download PDF

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