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Council for Trade in Services - Work programme on Electronic Commerce - Report by the Chairman of the Council for Trade in Services to the General Council
作者:Council for Trade in Services


Report by the Chairman of the Council for Trade in Services
to the General Council

1      Pursuant to the 2013 Ministerial Decision[1] instructing the General Council to review progress on the Work Programme on Electronic Commerce in its session of July 2015, the Council for Trade in Services agreed on 3 June 2015 that I should make this report to the General Council, on my own responsibility.

2      Since my last report to the General Council on 8 December 2014, the Council for Trade in Services discussed the Work Programme on Electronic Commerce at both of its formal meetings of 18 March and 3 June 2015, pursuant to the Ministerial mandate to continue substantially invigorating that work.

3      At the March meeting, Members reverted to the US communication addressing cross-border information flows, localization requirements, privacy protection and cloud computing.[2] The US delegation indicated that its submission was not proposing that new rules be developed or new commitments negotiated under the e-commerce Work Programme. Rather, the submission was designed to engage Members in a dialogue and information-sharing exercise with regard to the issues it addressed, possibly via a dedicated discussion or a seminar.

4      Several delegations reiterated that no new commitments or disciplines could be negotiated under the e-commerce Work Programme; however, Members seemed generally amenable to engaging in an experience-sharing discussion, so long as this implied no normative or prescriptive content.

5      At the June meeting, a similar openness to engaging in exploratory information-sharing exercises emerged. At that meeting, two proposals were put forward. Chinese Taipei suggested that a workshop on trade policy issues related to e-commerce be organised under the auspices of the Council, and China suggested that Members embark on a structured information-sharing exercise, by adding a standing sub-item to that effect on the Council's agenda item on the Work Programme. While stressing that such an exercise should be open-ended with respect to content and format, China suggested that challenges and implications for the participation of SMEs in e-commerce could be one topic of interest. Members generally welcomed both suggestions. One delegation reiterated that the Work Programme did not include a negotiating mandate.

6      Chinese Taipei also submitted a communication on the protection of personal information and the development of e-commerce.[3] Delegations generally welcomed the information provided, with many indicating that they were still analysing it. Nevertheless, a few Members sought further clarifications about the privacy protection framework adopted by Chinese Taipei.

7      On 15 July I held open-ended consultations to determine next steps with regard to the Work Programme, including as concerned the two suggestions made. At this meeting, China's proposal to formalize information sharing was accepted.  Accordingly, a sub-item on the exchange of information and experiences will be added to the agenda of the next Council meeting.  As for the proposal for a workshop made by Chinese Taipei, delegations requested more time to discuss possible elements.

8      The Council for Trade in Services will revert to the Work Programme at its next meeting.


[1] Document WT/L/907, dated 11 December 2013.

[2] Originally circulated as document JOB/SERV/196 and subsequently reissued as document S/C/W/359.

[3] Document S/C/W/360.