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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

1.1.  Pursuant to the 2015 Ministerial Decision[1] instructing the General Council to review progress on the Work Programme on Electronic Commerce in its session of July 2016, the Council for Trade in Services agreed on 17 June 2016 that I should make this report to the General Council, on my own responsibility.

1.2.  The Council for Trade in Services discussed the Work Programme on Electronic Commerce at both of its formal meetings of 18 March and 17 June 2016, pursuant to the Ministerial mandate to continue that work.

1.3.  At the March meeting, China shared the latest available information on the rapid growth of  e-commerce in its market. In 2015, the total turnover of e-commerce in China had attained more than RMB 20 trillion, and the number of online consumers had reached 413 million. Canada provided some general information on the e-commerce provisions it had included in its trade agreements. It underscored its interest in the Work Programme and in discussing supportive trade policy measures for digital trade, as well as regulatory practices that addressed existing and new constraints to such trade. Australia, the United States, Mexico and New Zealand also expressed support for the Work Programme and signalled their intention to contribute in the future. A representative of UNCTAD updated the Council on a number of activities UNCTAD was undertaking related to e-commerce.

1.4.  At the June meeting, Brazil proposed that the Secretariat update a Note produced in 1998[2] to assist Members' examination of the treatment of electronic commerce in the GATS legal framework, in light of the significant market and regulatory developments in e-commerce since the launch of the Work Programme. Many delegations welcomed the suggestion, but a few required more time to consider the proposal. It was agreed that I would be holding consultations on the matter.

1.5.  After noting that existing WTO rules were already applicable to e-commerce, some delegations called on the Membership to consider whether and which additional disciplines might usefully complement the multilateral rulebook in this area. While stating its willingness to engage constructively in experience-sharing discussions under the Work Programme, one delegation recalled its position that Members' discussions in that context must not aim at any normative or prescriptive outcomes.

1.6.  The WTO institutional arrangements for deliberations on e-commerce were also mentioned by a few Members. While one delegation viewed the fragmentation across different bodies (i.e. the General Council, the Council for Trade in Goods, the Council for TRIPS, the Committee on Trade and Development, as well the Council for Trade in Services) as unhelpful, several others supported such multi-layered discussions, in light of the broad range of issues involved.

1.7.  The MIKTA countries (i.e. Mexico, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Turkey and Australia) drew the Council's attention to the e-commerce seminar they were organising on 5 July and shared the programme with the Membership.

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



[1] Document WT/L/977, dated 21 December 2015.

[2] Document S/C/W/68, dated 16 November 1998.