Ecommerce Free Trade Agreement

According to participants at UNCTAD eCommerce Week 2019, e-commerce can significantly boost free trade across Africa and thus contribute to the achievement of the goals of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). We conducted a comparative analysis of the e-commerce provisions of the three main free trade agreements: the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement. These three agreements are important because they cover a wide geographical area, include major economies as parties and make different commitments. For our analysis, we selected a few important themes: tariffs; Cross-border data flow Protecting personal data and privacy Geolocation of data Prohibition of disclosing source code. These issues have become crucial to the multilateral discussions on e-commerce in the WTO and members have failed to reach consensus on many of these issues. [11] Here is an overview of the themes covered in each free trade agreement: over the past two decades, the provisions of e-commerce (E-Commerce) in free trade agreements (FTA) have become increasingly important. This is mainly due to the slow pace of discussions on e-commerce in the World Trade Organization (WTO), during which, after two decades of discussions, members agreed to begin negotiations on a multi-lateral framework for e-commerce. [1] In the meantime, free trade agreements have provided countries with a platform to engage in digital commerce and choose the standard of commitments that suits them. The 1998 Declaration on Global E-Commerce by WTO members called on the General Council to develop a comprehensive work programme on e-commerce to address all e-commerce issues. As part of the work programme, four WTO bodies have been set up to examine specific trade-related issues in the area of e-commerce, namely the Council for Trade in Services; Council for Trade in Goods; Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) and Committee for Trade and Development. Within these bodies and in the General Council, members had discussions on a number of e-commerce issues, including the issue of a ban on the collection of tariffs.

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