E-Commerce and the Digital Economy New Issues - Joint Statements

Cooperation, Capacity Building and Implementation Considerations of Developing Countries in the Ecommerce Joint Statement Initiative

This paper highlights potential approaches to support developing countries to participate in negotiations and implement proposed text provisions under the Joint Statement Initiative on e-commerce.

The negotiations of the WTO Joint Statement Initiative on Electronic Commerce are progressing, intending to reach convergence on the majority of issues by the end of 2022. Around thirty-eight developing countries, including six African countries and four LDCs, participate in this initiative. Many of these countries face considerable capacity constraints compared to their developed country counterparts and more advanced developing countries.

Their limited human and technical resources, knowledge of relevant technical issues and overall national capacities stand against their active engagement in the negotiations as well as their ability to benefit from the future Agreement to achieve their long-due development aspirations. They do not have the capacities to participate actively in the negotiations nor to implement the commitments of the outcome.