Two major statements, on the WTO e-commerce negotiations and the immanent expiry of the WTO e-commerce moratorium, have been released by the Global Services Coalition and a “Global Industry” multi-association coalition.
For the first time, the GSC has managed to attract signatories from two ASEAN business groups, The Singapore Business Federation and the Indonesian Services Dialogue.
The statements are released in the context of the WTO Public Forum currently taking place in Geneva, which has for the first time made services industries its key focus.
The e-commerce moratorium, the GSC position statement notes, “has become a critical part of the global foundation of the digital economy and is a shining example of how the multilateral system can promote policies that foster innovation and growth, particularly for small and medium size enterprises.”
“GSC members [of which ASR is one] believe that the moratorium should not expire at the end of this year and should be made permanent.”
Both statements insist, in the strongest possible terms, upon the necessity of a high-standard e-commerce agreement. The GSC statement notes:
“To set a high standard for digital trade rules we believe a WTO E-Commerce Agreement should include, among other elements: facilitation of cross-border data flows and fostering e-commerce enabling services, prohibition of forced data localization in all service sectors, a permanent moratorium on e-commerce duties, prohibition of disclosure or transfer of source code or algorithms, trade facilitation provisions, promotion of risk-based cybersecurity measures; and negotiation of services market access commitments for e-commerce related services.”
The Global Industry position paper also strongly recommends the moratorium on e-commerce duties be made permanent, saying, “Its successive renewal has created predictability for companies around the world and prevented the emergence of a new class of trade barrier.”
Please note that the ASR membership does not support the inclusion of governance on non-IP intermediary liability in trade agreements.
The full releases can be downloaded by clicking the links below.