Q2/2019 - World Trade Organization (WTO)
In January 2019, in the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos, 78 WTO members had announced in a "Joint Initiative for eCommerce" that they would start official negotiations on a legal framework for eCommerce. A first informal meeting was held in Geneva in April 2019 to discuss issues and priorities for future negotiations. The G20 Summit in Osaka at the end of June 2019 gave further momentum to these WTO negotiations. In the "G20 Osaka Declaration on the Digital Economy", the leaders of the 20 largest industrial nations supported the "Joint Initiative on eCommerce" and agreed on the principle of "Data Free Flow with Trust" as a guideline for these e-commerce negotiations (Osaka Track). WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo also called on the other WTO members to get involved in these negotiations. He pointed out that the 78 WTO members represented 90 percent of global trade and emphasised that the digital world should not be allowed to become fragmented. However, three G20 countries – India, South Africa and Indonesia – rejected the Osaka Track.