Implications of digital-related issues at MC13 and beyond

27 February 2024

In-person press briefing with civil society present at WTO’s MC13

While the Joint Statement Initiative on E-Commerce claims to have reached consensus on several issues, including e-signatures, e-contracts, paperless trading, online consumer protection, personal data protection, etc. The 15 January 2024 text had no agreement on issues concerning products that use cryptography, electronic payments, development, and exceptions. Further, the most recently proposed JSI text does not include language on source code, cross border data flows, and non- discrimination — some of the most contentious issues in the digital trade space. This also assumes that a consensus of Members will agree to its adoption as a WTO Agreement, despite strong opposition to this JSI and JSIS generally as unmandated and likely to marginalize other issues of importance to developing countries especially.

In this context, civil society experts from the developing and developed countries explore the following questions:

Where does the JSI on Ecommerce stand legally and substantively, and what are the implications of the current text for consumers, workers, and governments aiming to regulate the digital space? How, if at all, could the provisions in the JSI enable developing countries to meet their sustainable development goals? What should the WTO's role, as a trade body, be with respect to digital governance, and what processes should be implemented to ensure transparent and equitable decision-making?


  • Sanya Reid Smith - Third World Network
  • Prof. Jane Kelsey - (emerita) University of Auckland
  • Daniel Rangel - Rethink Trade
  • Melanie Foley - Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch
  • Sofia Scassera - Transnational Institute
  • Rishab Bailey - Digital Trade Alliance (Moderator)