The World Trade Organisation begins negotiations for new digital trade rules

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Following on from the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Switzerland, 76 members of the World Trade Organisation have begun negotiations on new international rules in digital trade.

The negotiations on trade-related aspects of e-commerce are a significant step towards updating international trade rules.

Australian Minister for trade, tourism and investment, Simon Birmingham said: “Through these negotiations we will demonstrate the importance of the multilateral trading system in helping reduce barriers, remove red tape and increase global trade.”

Singapore’s Minister for communications and information and Minister-in-charge of trade Relations S Iswaran said:  “Digital trade is the future of global trade. It fosters inclusive growth by enabling MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) to reach global markets. Modern WTO digital trade rules that address core needs will create an open and predictable environment for businesses to better harness the digital economy.”

Japanese Minister of economy, trade and industry Hiroshige Seko said: “It would be truly meaningful for the world economy if we could create trade rules for the 21st century that address the new challenges and promote the growth of digital economy.”

The 76 WTO members representing more than 90 per cent of global trade issued a joint statement confirming their intention to begin WTO negotiations on trade-related aspects of e-commerce.

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