WTO Members Resume Discussions on E-commerce following MC12 Outcome

WTO members kicked off discussions on 18 November on identifying specific cross-cutting issues to be addressed under the Work Programme on Electronic Commerce as a follow-up to the decision taken at the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) in June. WTO members agreed at MC12 to reinvigorate the Work Programme, particularly regarding its development dimension. They also agreed to maintain their current practice of not imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions and to intensify discussions on this moratorium.

General Council Chair Ambassador Didier Chambovey said that in his consultations post MC12, members generally supported holding dedicated discussions under the auspices of the General Council to address so-called horizontal issues cutting across various trade topics, particularly in regard to the development dimension.

Ambassador Chambovey said: “Much of the work and discussions going forward will depend on your suggestions and priorities, in line with the member-driven nature of our work.”

During the meeting, a group of members presented a proposal on how to reinvigorate the Work Programme. Members also shared their views on topics to be addressed and on the way forward, including on the moratorium.

In her concluding remarks, Ambassador Usha Dwarka-Canabady, the facilitator on the E-commerce Work Programme and moratorium, said: “There is a sense of engagement from all members … The work has started today.”

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