Last week, USCIB Senior Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl attended E-Commerce Week hosted by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva. The theme of the week was “From Digitalization to Development” and included over 1400 participants from government, private sector, and civil society from around the world. Many of the thematic sessions addressed negotiations of an e-Commerce agreement expected to begin soon at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Seventy-six WTO members, accounting for 90% of global trade in electronic commerce, endorsed the negotiation of a high-standard agreement in January of 2019 at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. USCIB supports these negotiations and is looking forward to a high-standard outcome on digital trade issues affecting business.
The UNCTAD meetings also included several sessions of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on E-Commerce and the Digital Economy, which Hampl joined as a member of the Digital Trade Network (DTN), making substantive contributions on issues of data flows and localization policies.
“Given the broad UN membership, there continues to be push-back from certain countries to UNCTAD engaging on this issue,” reported Hampl. “UNCTAD leadership, however, made it clear in various meetings that there is broad support for negotiations on electronic commerce moving ahead at the WTO, and on general work on digital trade moving forward. This positive momentum is also shared by the WTO, where the work is progressing, and expected to move forward this year.”