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Subject: Introduction to the WTO Joint ...
Content: Why should the WTO promote e-commerce negotiations?New technologies have shifted global trade patter...

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Introduction to the WTO Joint Statement Initiative on Electronic Commerce

Source:Bureau of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Economic Affairs
Revise Date:2020-07-22

Why should the WTO promote e-commerce negotiations?

New technologies have shifted global trade patterns, bringing new opportunities and challenges to businesses and consumers. However, the existing WTO regulations have been unable to keep pace with the rapid development of electronic commerce.

Taiwan, together with over 70 WTO members, confirmed intentions in January 2019 to launch negotiations on trade related aspects of e-commerce. As of May 2020, 84 members, which account for more than 90% of global trade, have participated in this initiative.

What are the key focus areas under discussion in the initiative?

  • Enabling digital trade/e-commerce:
    • Customs and digital trade facilitation (e.g. paperless trading)
    • Facilitation of electronic transactions (e.g. e-authentication and e-signatures, electronic transaction frameworks, and electronic invoicing)
    • Customs duties on electronic transmissions
  • Openness:
    • Non-discriminatory treatment of digital products
    • Flow of information/data
    • Location of computing facilities
    • Access to and use of the internet
  • Trust:
    • Business trust (e.g. source codes and ICT products that use cryptography)
    • Consumer trust (e.g. online consumer protection, privacy protection and protection against SPAM)
  • Cross-cutting issues:
    • Transparency
    • Infrastructure gaps/digital divide
    • Cooperation
  • Telecommunication services.
  • Market access (for both trade in services and goods)
    What are the expectations of e-commerce negotiations?
    These negotiations are expected to create a more convenient, reliable and equitable online trading environment for consumers and enterprises, while reducing trade barriers and helping SMEs to explore more business opportunities. They also seek to achieve high-standard outcomes that build on existing WTO agreements with the participation of as many WTO members as possible for further potential benefits to enterprises, consumers and the global economy.
Published Date:2020-06-24