At the World Economic Forum in Davos today, 75 countries – the European Union and 47 other members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) – decided to start negotiations to put in place global rules on electronic commerce.
Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: “It is encouraging to see so many partners joining this important trade initiative. Electronic commerce is a reality in most corners of the world, so we owe it to our citizens and companies to provide a predictable, effective and safe online environment for trade. We look forward to working with all interested WTO members, flexibly and pragmatically, to create a truly comprehensive and ambitious set of rules.” So far, there are no specific rules in the WTO regulating e-commerce. The new rules would aim to enhance opportunities and address challenges of e-commerce in both developed and developing countries. The negotiations should result in a multilateral legal framework that consumers and businesses, especially smaller ones, could rely on to make it easier and safer to buy, sell and do business online. The negotiating process planned to start in March 2019 is open to other WTO members who may want to join. For more information see a full press release.