[A2k] WTO members agree to extend e-commerce, non-violation moratoriums

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Wed Dec 11 08:16:14 PST 2019


https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news19_e/gc_10dec19_e.htm
WTO members agree to extend e-commerce, non-violation moratoriums

Members agreed to maintain the current practice of not imposing customs
duties on electronic transmissions until the 12th Ministerial Conference
(MC12) in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, scheduled for 8-11 June 2020. They also
agreed to continue work under the existing 1998 work programme on
e-commerce in the beginning part of 2020. The work in the run-up to MC12
will include structured discussions on issues that would help ministers
take an informed decision by MC12.

Since 1998, WTO members have periodically renewed the moratorium at each
Ministerial Conference and have continued addressing e-commerce related
issues in the Goods Council, the Services Council, the TRIPS Council and
the Committee on Trade and Development as part of the e-commerce work
programme.

The General Council decision can be found here. More information regarding
the WTO's work on electronic commerce is available here
<https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/ecom_e/ecom_e.htm>.

WTO members also agreed to extend the moratorium on non-violation and
situation complaints under the TRIPS Agreement until MC12. This issue
concerns the longstanding issue of whether members should have the right to
bring dispute cases to the WTO if they consider that another member's
action or a specific situation has deprived them of an expected benefit
under the TRIPS Agreement, even if no specific TRIPS obligation has been
violated.

This moratorium was originally set to last for five years (1995–99), but it
has been extended a number of times since then in the absence of agreement
by members on what the scope and modalities could look like if
non-violation and situation complaints were to apply to the TRIPS Agreement.

The General Council decision can be found here. More information on the
TRIPS non-violation issue is available here
<https://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/minist_e/mc11_e/briefing_notes_e/bftrips_e.htm>
.


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-- 
Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International
41 22 791 6727
thiru at keionline.org


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