Q1/2020 - World Trade Organization (WTO)
The discussion about a future joint statement on e-commerce within the framework of WTO was continued with a workshop on 19 January 2020 at the Davos World Economic Forum. The e-commerce moratorium concluded in 1998 will expire in June 2020. WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo expressed his appreciation for the progress that has been made since the G20 Summit in June 2019 and for the Japanese Osaka Track initiative (Free Flow for Trusted Data/FFTD). He said that more and more WTO member states joined the debate. The WTO was the right forum for such kind of negotiations. If no comprehensive agreement could be reached at the upcoming 11th WTO Ministerial Conference, partial agreements could certainly be considered a step forward, too. However, if the attendants parted without having reached any agreement and merely adopted a “stocktaking” or a “roadmap”, this would be a missed opportunity, said Azevêdo. On 24 March 2020, Kazakhstan, the host of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference scheduled for June 2020, had announced a postponement due to the Corona pandemic.