Joint contribution on e-commerce at the WTO suggests process-related improvements

Singapore and 15 other countries from several regions, including Canada, China, Colombia and Switzerland, have put forward a paper at the World Trade Organization (WTO) (JOB/GC/132/Rev.3) to express their positions on e-commerce. The document points out some process-related reasons why discussions on e-commerce have made little progress since the approval of the Work Programme, especially the compartmentalisation of discussions in several committees – on goods, services, intellectual property and development – failing to take into account the interlinked and transversal nature of issues related to e-commerce. The document urges ministers at the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference, to take place in December, to set out an updated framework or process through which future work could be undertaken, and to find issues of common concern in which governments could collaborate, putting development at the centre.