The statement, supported by some 75 governments, represents a major step forward in efforts within the WTO to enable e-commerce in support of sustainable development and small-business growth.
ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said:
“Today’s statement is a very welcome move by members of the WTO to maximise the potential of e-commerce to make trade work for everyone, everywhere.
“Traditionally, commerce over distance has come with significant costs – limiting the ability of SMEs and businesses in developing economies to benefit from global trade. In an Internet-enabled environment this does not need to be the case… but today’s trade rules, which largely reflect 20th Century patterns of trade, are not always well-suited to supporting the growth of SME e-commerce.
“That’s why we need an ambitious global agreement on e-commerce to tackle growing policy frictions in the digital space and – above all – empower entrepreneurs.
“With the right global policies there is an opportunity to unleash a new era of inclusive trade: one in which all companies – regardless of size, sector or location – can benefit from equal access to the global trading system. What’s more, enhanced governance of digital trade – providing greater transparency and trust – will be vital to safeguard the integrity and openness of the global internet.
“Today’s initiative underscores the continued importance of the WTO as a forum for trade policy-making – and we encourage governments to pursue an ambitious agreement with the minimum of delay.”
About The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is the world’s largest business organization representing more than 45 million companies in over 100 countries. ICC’s core mission is to make business work for everyone, every day, everywhere. Through a unique mix of advocacy, solutions and standard setting, we promote international trade, responsible business conduct and a global approach to regulation, in addition to providing market-leading dispute resolution services. Our members include many of the world’s leading companies, SMEs, business associations and local chambers of commerce.