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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 December 2016, the Council for Trade in Services agreed on 25 November 2016 that I should make this report to the General Council, on my own responsibility.  The report follows the one issued in July, in document S/C/49.

1.2.  The Council for Trade in Services discussed the Work Programme on Electronic Commerce at both of its formal meetings of 7 October and 25 November 2016, in accordance with the Ministerial mandate to continue that work.

1.3.  At the October meeting, Members considered a communication by a group of Members[2] proposing that the CTS hold a seminar on the services-trade aspects of e-commerce. Around 30 delegations took the floor to support the proposal, with several referring to e-commerce as a possible MC11 deliverable. As a couple of delegations needed more time to consider the suggestion, it was agreed that I would hold open-ended consultations. Accordingly, an informal meeting was organised on 16 November, at which there appeared to be no objection to the Council organising a thematic seminar on e-commerce in services.

1.4.  At the November meeting, the Council agreed, in principle, to hold the seminar. Several delegations offered comments and suggestions on the proposed agenda. Many called for the event to focus on the development dimension of electronic commerce, address exclusively services issues and serve as an experience and information-sharing exercise, remaining within the mandate of the Work Programme and without any negotiating implications. Some delegations asked for consistency in the way Members approached all seminars proposed to be held under the Council's auspices. The Secretariat was tasked with the preparation of a draft programme that would reflect all the concerns raised and comments made.

1.5.  The delegation of China presented a communication on the e-commerce Work Programme that it had submitted also to the General Council, the Council for Trade in Goods and the Committee on Trade and Development.[3] All delegations welcomed the communication, with many calling for the tabling of more submissions on e-commerce. A number of clarifications were sought, which included what was implied by the suggestion that e-commerce-supporting services be made "more accommodating", what role the WTO could play in bolstering private sector cooperation and why only a few services sectors had been singled out as "supporting services". In terms of more horizontal issues, many delegations favoured suggestions to enhance transparency and exchange information on measures concerning, inter alia, digital certificates and electronic signature and authentication. A few Members also called for the moratorium on custom duties on electronic transmissions to be made permanent. As for the paper's suggestion that Members discuss e-commerce issues in an informal joint meeting of the General Council and its relevant subsidiary bodies, most delegations indicated that they were flexible, but a few called for discussions to take place in the subsidiary bodies first and be referred to the General Council only when sufficiently mature. A couple of delegations wondered how the meeting would be organised and who would chair it.

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


[1] Document WT/L/977.

[2] RD/SERV/133/Rev.2.

[3] JOB/SERV/243/Rev.1.