WTO highlights progress made on developing global digital trade & e-commerce rules
In the statement, the co-convenors stressed the importance of developing global digital trade rules and the critical role e-commerce would play in the global economic recovery from COVID-19.
In a public statement on e-commerce negotiations released on 14 December, the co-convenors of the talks — Australia, Japan, and Singapore — said the consolidated negotiating text, shared with participating members on 7 December, captures the encouraging progress achieved so far. They said the initiative remained on track to deliver substantial progress by the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference scheduled for next year.
In the statement, the co-convenors stressed the importance of developing global digital trade rules and the critical role e-commerce would play in the global economic recovery from COVID-19. They noted that the negotiations had advanced despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, highlighting the good progress made in small groups on specific issues. They added that provisions that enable and promote the flow of data are one of the key areas where discussions will be intensified from early 2021.
The consolidated negotiating text will be the basis of further negotiations in 2021, the co-convenors stated. Looking ahead, they said: "We will intensify work in the coming months to further narrow differences and find potential landing zones."
The number of participants in the initiative stands at 86 WTO members, accounting for over 90 percent of global trade and representing all major geographical regions and levels of development.