1 March 2022
Canadian Custom Brokerage

E-commerce negotiators at the WTO are trying to find common ground

At a meeting on February 21, participants in the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations on electronic commerce received updates on the small group discussions and exchanged views on proposals relating to telecommunications services, access to online platforms and competition.

Ambassador Kazuyuki Yamazaki (Japan), co-convenor of the initiative and chair of the plenary meetings this year, said WTO members need to devote as many resources as possible to the topics they “show willingness to discuss”.

Ambassador Yamazaki urged proponents to ensure their proposals have broad support from members. He encouraged proponents to exercise flexibility on issues that do not gain a reasonable degree of support at meetings in the first half of this year.

Ambassador George Mina of Australia urged small groups to step up their work. He said: “We need to see more work from the facilitators but more work from every single member of those small groups.” He reminded members that the co-convenors are available to encourage further convergence in the work of these groups.

Ambassador Mina noted that 65 members have put forward a proposal to renew the multilateral moratorium on the imposition of customs duties on e-commerce. He urged members to engage with this proposal in the coming months as dates for reconvening the 12th Ministerial Conference are being deliberated.

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