Global Business Community Urges Rapid Action on Ambitious WTO e-Commerce Framework

January 25, 2019

An open letter to WTO Trade Ministers:

On behalf of organizations representing businesses, workers, and entrepreneurs from around the world, we congratulate governments for making progress towards negotiations on trade-related aspects of electronic commerce under the umbrella of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

We urge governments to build on the progress achieved thus far under the Joint Statement on Electronic Commerce initiative to negotiate an ambitious WTO framework that is commercially significant, negotiated in a timely fashion and can adjust to innovation and new technologies.

The ability of businesses and individuals to participate effectively in the global economy today requires a modern e-commerce framework that facilitates customs clearance, digital transactions, transparency, trust, movement of information, and access to a variety of e-commerce platforms, payments technologies, communications, social media and marketing tools, productivity software, and shipping and logistics services.

Increasingly, the digital economy IS the economy. The digital economy and the global e-commerce boom are creating unprecedented opportunities for businesses from all sectors, of all sizes, and from all countries. Improving the enabling environment for digital trade and global e-commerce is particularly critical for micro, small and early-stage businesses to unlock customers, suppliers, and partners in new markets, integrate into global value chains, and manage their operations.

We commend trade officials from more than 70 countries for engaging in good faith discussions in Geneva on the practical implications of digital trade and e-commerce under the dialogue established following the WTO’s 11th Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Countries now have a unique opportunity to clarify and improve the existing framework of trade rules and commitments around trade facilitation, services, digital trade, transparency and trust to improve the ability of businesses of all sizes and across all industries to benefit from the global digital marketplace and realize the potential of e-commerce for development.

We hope future discussions will lead quickly to a framework that promotes a vibrant and inclusive e-commerce ecosystem and supports businesses’ ability to engage in digitally-enabled trade.

We encourage additional members to consider entering into the discussions as a means of enabling their small businesses and entrepreneurs to succeed, provided that new entrants are supportive of an ambitious result.

Sincerely,

To download a pdf version of the letter, click here