eCommerce week 2019: What to expect from negotiations on digital trade?

BEUC NEWS - 29.03.2019

The EU and 75 other members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have decided to launch trade negotiations on ‘e-commerce’. This term has come to encompass a wide range of digital trade themes – such as data flows, cybersecurity and net neutrality – as well as online consumer trust and telecom markets. During this year’s United Nations (UNCTAD) eCommerce Week, BEUC sets out how these trade talks could work for consumers.WTO e-commerce (digital trade) negotiations - BEUC recommendations to decision-makers

 

Buying goods and services on the global online market is increasingly popular. But when Europeans buy online from traders outside the EU they can encounter various problems. For example, it may be difficult to return a product. Rules for dealing with an undelivered or faulty product might also differ. And a consumer could face unexpected custom fees. These are challenges that consumer groups think can be addressed at the global scale.

eCommerce week 2019: What do consumers groups expect of these negotiations?

These WTO negotiations could have a direct impact on people. Consumer groups are in favour of negotiations that help build people’s trust in online & telecom markets. Yet trade talks must not limit how the EU, or its Member States, can regulate a vast array of digital topics – especially as Europe lacks state-of-the-art laws on some of them.

Consumer groups also remind decision-makers that trade aspects are only one piece of the e-commerce puzzle. A big challenge today is to prevent consumers from being harmed by dangerous products sold online. Authorities across the globe should work better together to do so.

On Monday April 1st and Thursday April 4th, we shall detail this view during events organised during the UNCTAD eCommerce week in Geneva.

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