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The WTO First Meeting for the Exploratory Work on Electronic Commerce Held

On March 14 (local time), 2018, the first meeting for the Exploratory Work on Electronic Commerce of the World Trade Organization (WTO) was held in Geneva, Switzerland.

The meeting was held based on the joint statement on electronic commerce issued at the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11) held in December 2017, as the first meeting to discuss exploratory work towards future WTO negotiations. From the Japanese side, stakeholders from both the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) participated in the meeting.

At the meeting, which brought together the approximately 80 Members, including the non-participants stipulated in the joint statement issued in December 2017, participants expressed their interest and expectations and held discussions concerning future approaches to advancing exploratory work. The next meeting will be held around mid-April 2018.

Reference: Joint Statement on Electronic Commerce

On December 13, 2017, at MC11, 71 Members that share the goal of advancing electronic commerce work in the WTO issued a joint statement.

 1. Highlights of the joint statement

  • The Members will initiate exploratory work together toward future WTO negotiations on trade-related aspects of electronic commerce
  • Participation will be open to all WTO Members.
  • Its first meeting will be held in the first quarter of 2018.

 2. Seventy-one participating Members, including all EU member countries

Australia; Japan; Singapore (these three countries are co-chairs); Albania; Argentina; Bahrain; Brazil; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; Canada; Chile; Colombia; Costa Rica; European Union (including all 28 member countries); Guatemala; Hong Kong, China; Iceland; Israel; Kazakhstan; Republic of Korea, State of Kuwait; Lao PDR; Liechtenstein; the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Malaysia; Mexico; Moldova, Republic of Montenegro; Myanmar; New Zealand; Nigeria; Norway; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Qatar; Russian Federation; Switzerland; Separate Custom Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu; Turkey; Ukraine; the United States and Uruguay

Release date

March 15, 2018

Division in Charge

Multilateral Trade System Department, Trade Policy Bureau

Related website

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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