16. April 2021
Wto Agreement On Digital Trade
„Governments seem blinded by unfounded assertions that the adoption of digital trade rules will lead to new development opportunities and potential savings if these rules are actually designed to bind their hands.“ Public Services International (2020) DIGITALEUROPE, the association representing digital processing industries in Europe, expresses its strong support for formal negotiations for a new multi-lateral agreement on aspects of e-commerce, as first announced on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2019. That is why DIGITALEUROPE strongly supports the objective of concluding this agreement on e-commerce in the WTO, with the potential it offers to remove the trade barriers that are currently hampering these important developments. This will better exploit current and future digitization opportunities in global markets, while recognizing the important role of the WTO-based multilateral system in promoting open, transparent, non-discriminatory and predictable regulatory environments. This is especially true for facilitating cross-border data flows, which are the lifeblood of the global digital ecosystem. This project not only concerns the digital transformation of society and industry in Europe, but can also help bridge the growing digital divide between citizens and consumers. The EU TEXT proposal will be discussed in Geneva on 13-15 May, along with proposals from other WTO participants. The EU supports an open and transparent negotiation process that takes into account the specific opportunities and challenges that members may face in this very broad trade area and hopes that more WTO members will participate in these negotiations when the time comes. The EU proposal on the aspects of e-commerce, the WTO negotiations were launched in Davos in January 2019, with the participation of 76 members. The number of participating members is now 86.
Participating members strive to achieve a high-level outcome, based on existing WTO agreements and frameworks, with the participation of as many WTO members as possible. The e-commerce initiative was launched on the sidelines of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires. DigitalEurope supports trade facilitation measures that promote administrative facilitation, cost-effectiveness, rapid and accessible market access, predictability, fair enforcement and transparency in the import, export and transit of goods, subject to legitimate procedures to limit cross-border trade in counterfeit goods.