China and U.S. among 76 WTO Members Pushing for New E-Commerce Rules
26, Jan 2019
Prelims level : Economy - WTO Mains level : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
- Impatient with a lack of World Trade Organization rules on the explosive growth of e-commerce, 76 members – including the United States, China, the European Union and Japan – agreed to start negotiating a new framework.
- On the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, negotiators from the 76 countries and regions agreed to hammer out an agenda for negotiations they hope to kick off this year on setting new e-commerce rules.
- E-commerce, or online trade in goods and services, has become a huge component of the global economy. A WTO report put the total value of e-commerce in 2016 at $27.7 trillion, of which nearly $24 trillion was business-to-business transactions.
- The WTO’s 164 members failed to consolidate some 25 separate e-commerce proposals at a conference at Buenos Aires in December, including a call to set up a central e-commerce negotiating forum.
- E-commerce, which developed largely after the WTO’s creation in 1995, was not part of the Doha round of talks that began in 2001 and eventually collapsed more than a decade later.
- India did not join the initiative. It has previously said the WTO should finish off the stalled but development-oriented “Doha Round” of talks before moving into new areas.
- The current WTO rules don’t match the needs of the 21st century. It is evident from the fact that there are no solid rules on e-commerce.