The main objectives of this Geneva seminar for Geneva-based delegates, as well as of selected national policy makers were: (i) to take stock of and share the latest updates on the negotiations proceedings and preparations for MC12; and (ii) to have a more in-depth conversation on potential issues of interest to developing countries.
In a Joint Statement dated 25 January 2019, Ministers of 76 WTO Members confirmed “their intention to commence WTO negotiations on trade-related aspects of electronic commerce” with the objective to “achieve a high standard outcome that builds on existing WTO agreements and frameworks with the participation of as many WTO Members as possible”. Over the course of 2019, Members held six rounds of negotiations. In 2020, the negotiations continued and covered all the themes and relevant proposals, which were then streamlined to form the consolidated text of December 14.
In 2021 intensive work took place in 10 small groups on specific themes with the objective of achieving “clean texts” and building momentum by showing progress on less controversial issues in MC12. The 10 themes are: i) consumer protection; ii) spam; iii) e-signatures and electronic authentication; iv) paperless trading; v) digital trade facilitation; vi) source code; vii) open government data; viii) market access; ix) customs duties on electronic transmissions, and x) open Internet access. The co-conveners: Australia, Japan and Singapore indicated that as small groups achieve progress, they will proceed with tackling new themes of the remaining ones.
The main objectives of this Geneva seminar for Geneva-based delegates, as well as of selected capital-based policy makers were: i) to take stock of and share the latest updates on the negotiations proceedings and preparations for MC12; ii) to have a more in-depth conversation on potential issues of interest to developing countries.
This virtual seminar was organised under the Trade and Investment Advocacy Fund (TAF2+) WTO Umbrella Grant. The project aims at strengthening the capacity of developing and least developed country (LDC) member delegations in Geneva and capitals as they determine their level of engagement, strategy and approach to the Joint Statement Initiatives (JSIs) on e-commerce, investment facilitation for development, and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), respectively.