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- WTO Joint Statement Initiative on E-commerce: Ministerial Meeting Held and Statement by Co-convenors Released
WTO Joint Statement Initiative on E-commerce: Ministerial Meeting Held and Statement by Co-convenors Released
January 20, 2023
On January 20 (Fri.), Mr. Nishimura Yasutoshi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, hosted a ministerial meeting on the WTO Joint Statement Initiative (JSI) on E-commerce in Davos, Switzerland. After the meeting, the co-convenors of the JSI—Japan, Australia, and Singapore—released a ministerial statement affirming their commitment to achieve a substantial conclusion by the end of 2023.
On January 20 (Fri.), a ministerial meeting on the WTO Joint Statement Initiative (JSI) on E-commerce was held in Davos, Switzerland, hosted by METI Minister Nishimura; The Hon. Tim Ayers, Assistant Minister for Trade of Australia; and H.E. Ms. Josephine TEO, Minister for Communications and Information of Singapore.
At the meeting, discussions were held on accelerating future negotiations, and the co-convenors affirmed their commitment to working towards a substantial conclusion by the end of 2023, which was supported by many participating members.
In his remark, Minister Nishimura said, "It is important to create global rules in order to create a predictable business environment for companies. Achieving agreement in the WTO JSI on E-commerce is very significant since they will materialize Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT) and contribute to WTO reform." He also called on participating members to confirm their commitment to achieving a substantial conclusion by the end of 2023 and accelerating negotiations in order to create rules that are appropriate for the digital age as soon as possible.
After the meeting, the co-convenors issued a media release regarding the meeting (Related Material 1) and a statement (Related Material 2).
The key points in the statement are as follows:
- The JSI negotiation on E-Commerce has been making steady progress. In December 2022, the co-chairs issued a streamlined consolidated text with convergence on ten articles.
- The participants confirmed that they will evaluate the progress they have made so far and intensify negotiations moving forward on the remaining issues.
- New negotiating groups have been formed and made good progress on articles regarding privacy and cryptography.
- Discussions have been initiated on horizontal issues such as preambles and definitions.
- Provisions on cross-border data flows and source code are essential for high-standard and commercially meaningful outcomes, and the negotiating Members will continue to strive towards greater convergence on these issues. In addition, it is expected that they will reach an agreement on a permanent ban on customs duties on electronic transmissions.
- The co-convenors are committed to ensuring that the JSI remains inclusive and meaningful to consumers and businesses alike.
- 87 members are participating in the JSI, accounting for more than 90% of global trade.
- Creating global digital trade rules with high standards will improve certainty and the interoperability of regulations.
- The co-convenors will progress efforts under the E-Commerce Capacity Building Framework in order to support developing Members.
- The co-convenors will work with all participating Members towards a substantial conclusion by the end of 2023.
- Members of the WTO Joint Statement Initiative on E-commerce agree to target substantial conclusion of negotiations by end 2023 (January 20, 2023)(PDF:281KB)
- WTO Joint Statement Initiative on E-commerce: Statement by Ministers of Australia, Japan and Singapore (January 20, 2023)(PDF:102KB)
Division in Charge
Digital Trade Rules Office, Trade Policy Bureau