EU releases its proposal for rules on global electronic commerce


As part of its commitment to transparency and inclusiveness in development of its trade policy, the Commission today made public its proposalfor future international rules on e-commerce. Despite a fast increase in digital trade, there are currently no multilateral rules in this area. In January 2019, a group of 76 members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), including the EU, decided to launch negotiations that should result in a multilateral legal framework that consumers and businesses could rely on to make it easier and safer to buy, sell and do business online. The rules proposed by the EU would among others guarantee the validity of e-contracts and e-signatures, strengthen consumers’ trust in the on-line environment, introduce measures to effectively combat spam, tackle barriers that prevent cross-border sales and permanently ban customs duties on electronic transmissions. A group of interested WTO Members held a first meeting on 6 March to agree on the process for WTO e-commerce negotiations. The EU proposal will be discussed along proposals from other participating WTO members during meetings planned from 13 to 15 May in Geneva.