MC11 e-commerce battle lines drawn across three camps

MC11 e-com battlelines drawn across three camps' gives an overview of the various positions countries have adopted on e-commerce and trade, and likely to play out at the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference from 10 to 13 December, 2017. The divergent approaches to the subject not only follows a North- South divide as is the tradition in WTO, but interestingly a South-South divide. Developing countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Nigeria and Bangladesh  are keen to explore how the WTO can help them secure a "global digital trade opportunity". Their stance emerges from a positive history with the IT industry. They believe  that if e-commerce is liberalized they can use the competitive advantage gained through fairly mature IT/software sector. The paper debunks this myth, by illustrating how digital industry is fundamentally different from the IT and software industry. It  warns the loss of data - a vital resource in the digital-industrial age, from the Global South to North, that is  bound to take place if  liberalized trade regime are instituted without any safeguards. Read more

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