End of WTO e-commerce deadlock cause for optimism

Press release

Today, 75 WTO members declared their intention to start negotiations on e-commerce, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.  

MEP Marietje Schaake reacts: “The failure to create rules around digital trade heads-on was emblematic for the declining relevance of the WTO. Today’s declaration marks the ambition for multilateral organisations to remain fit for purpose to set the rules of the road for our digital economies. Now the signatories, including China, need to put their money where their mouth is, and work together towards a high standard outcome.  

The European Parliament adopted a report on digital trade in 2017 by MEP Schaake which called for ambitious rules on cross-border data flows in trade agreements and source code disclosure.  

Schaake: “Trade in services and cross border data flows are essential for our digital economies. In an interconnected world there can be no place for digital protectionism. New barriers such as unjustified forced data localisation measures, or forcing companies to hand over the source codes of their products, should be prevented.”  

The negotiating process planned to start in March 2019 is open to other WTO members who may still be interested to join.