Coding Virtual Bridges: Using Free Trade Agreements to Construct a New Inclusive WTO E-Commerce Agreement
28 Pages Posted: 7 May 2022
Date Written: January 01, 2018
The aim of this article is to explore whether a new cross-border e-commerce agreement is necessary and if so how it can be drafted so that it will be able to address the main concerns of the countries while at the same time will facilitate e-commerce for developing countries. Regulating e-commerce requires addressing the broad range of technical and legal topics that are beyond the scope of this article. Given the main concerns of the countries, the article aims to suggest a roadmap to make negotiating e-commerce issues easier. The article handles the issue in four parts. Part I provides the background for countries’ demands for regulating e-commerce and lays out main concerns related to cross-border e- commerce. Part II concerns the categorization of e-commerce goods and services under WTO agreements. It suggests a new agreement as a solution for the problems arising out of classification. Part III discusses the moratorium on customs duties and its extent. It discusses conditions to impose customs duties if the parties do not wish to make the moratorium permanent. Part IV concludes by demonstrating that there is a need for global regulation that could only be addressed by the WTO. It further suggests that the WTO can make a progress on finding a common ground by looking at the main drive for the countries, which could be derived from existing agreements.
Keywords: WTO, e-commerce, digital trade, USMCA, GATT, GATS
JEL Classification: K40, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation