WTO e-commerce negotiations aim for substantial conclusion by end-2023

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is pushing for substantial progress in its e-commerce negotiations by the end of 2023, as digital developments continue to advance rapidly.

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The WTO’s e-commerce negotiations, which aim to address various issues related to digital trade, have made progress by ‘parking’ 11 provisions (paperless trading, e-contracts, e-signatures, e-invoicing, spam, consumer protection, cybersecurity and an electronic transactions framework), and seeking to bridge differences on others (“single windows”, personal information and data protection) by the end of summer.

The initiative aims to ensure that the benefits of e-commerce and digital growth are available to all, including marginalised groups and remote areas. According to Director General Okonjo-Iweala:

‘While e-commerce has helped small businesses, and especially women-owned firms, tap into international markets, there is a great deal of room to improve. Digital trade can be an even more effective economic lifeline for marginalised groups and geographically remote areas.’

The negotiations are seen as crucial for the WTO to remain relevant and demonstrate members’ commitment to rule-making. Developing members are increasingly participating, promoting interoperability in the digital regulatory landscape.

Source: WTO