WASHINGTON – Today, 27 trade associations from across the world issued a joint position paper supporting efforts to secure a World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on E-Commerce that is inclusive, high-standard, and commercially meaningful. In the paper, released ahead of the WTO Public Forum on October 8-11, the global industry representatives outline priorities for providing governments with the ability to promote digital trade while protecting and promoting consumer trust, fostering inclusivity in digital trade, and generating real commercial value for the global economy.
“Digital trade is critical to the prosperity of all economies and the ability of companies of all sizes and in all sectors to produce, move, market, and sell products and services around the world,” the associations wrote. “In order to provide countries with the tools necessary to ensure that companies can continue to grow, innovate, and create jobs, global industry strongly supports efforts to secure a World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on E-Commerce that is inclusive, high-standard, and commercially meaningful.”
The associations recommend that a WTO E-Commerce Agreement:
- Prohibit internet tariffs and customs formalities on electronic transmissions;
- Facilitate the flow of data across borders;
- Prohibit requirements to localize the storage and processing of data;
- Ensure the protection of personal data;
- Prohibit requirements to disclose source code, algorithms, or encryption keys;
- Promote government cooperation and regulatory best practices for cybersecurity;
- Promote state-of-the-art good regulatory practices in the regulation of digital services;
- Pursue “TFA-plus” provisions that facilitate e-commerce, including through increasing de minimis levels and simplifying customs clearance for low-value shipments;
- Promote acceptance of electronic contracts, signatures and authentication;
- Ensure the adoption of non-IP intermediary liability protections;
- Expand market access for services;
- Expand market access for ICT goods through accession to the WTO Information Technology Agreement; and,
- Facilitate access to and use of government data.
Associations signing the statement include: Information Technology Industry Council, ACT | The App Association, Allied for Startups, Asia Internet Coalition, Australian Services Roundtable, BritishAmerican Business, BSA | The Software Alliance, Cámara de Informática y Comunicaciones de la República de Argentina, Computer and Communications Industry Association, Computing Technology Industry Association, Consumer Technology Association, DIGITALEUROPE, Global Innovation Forum, Information Technology Association of Canada, Internet Association, Japan Business Council in Europe, Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association, Japan, Information Technology Services Industry Association, Semiconductor Industry Association in Japan, National Foreign Trade Council, Nigeria Private Sector Alliance, Semiconductor Industry Association, Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Association, Telecommunications Industry Association, techUK, Technology Ireland, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.