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 E-Merchants Trade Council, Inc.

Simplifying Global E-commerce 

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WTO Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions May Expire in 2024

Fri, June 17, 2022 12:20 PM | Anonymous

Geneva, Switzerland --

As a result of negotiations during the World Trade Organization's 12th Ministerial Conference, trade ministers have produced a Draft Ministerial Decision that would extend the moratorium on imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions until March 31, 2024.  The critical question is whether this extension changes anything?

Since adopting the Declaration on Global Electronic Commerce in 1998, the moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions has been revisited and extended by the WTO every two years at its ministerial conference.  In 2021, India and South Africa put forward a communication on The Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions: Need for Clarity on its Scope and Impact.

While EMTC hoped that the WTO would produce a text for electronic commerce, it became clear over the past few months that not enough progress was made on the Work Programme on Electronic Commerce.

However, most observers have monitored the efforts of Member States (principally India and South Africa) to end the Moratorium, particularly at MC12.  While the moratorium is extended until MC13 (by December 31, 2023), the WTO General Council may extend the moratorium if MC13 is delayed.  

What are the chances that the following will occur before December 2023:

  1. the WTO's Work Programme on Electronic Commerce produces an agreement acceptable to Member States and adopted.
  2. the global minimum rate for a Digital Services Tax will be adopted and implemented by Member States before MC13.
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