More can be done to increase participation in the e-commerce negotiations in the WTO


About trade

Published: 05 Sep 2023

Several WTO members are negotiating a comprehensive framework for e-commerce regulation. But only seven countries from the African continent are involved in the negotiations. The National Board of Trade has investigated why.

A new e-commerce agreement within the WTO involves agreeing on new and updated rules in many areas important for e-commerce. The parties may need to recognize digital versions of trade documents, have well-adapted consumer protection legislation and data flow rules that do not obstruct trade.

But so far, few African countries have chosen to join the negotiations.

“There are many different reasons why countries do not participate, and it is important to note that the reasons are not the same for everyone. However, many countries lack resources and trade policy capacity, which makes them prioritize other things”, says Emma Sävenborg, Trade Policy Adviser at the National Board of Trade.

“Since the negotiations will result in a multilateral agreement, it is desirable that all regions are represented. It is also important to ensure that the rules are adapted to the conditions of different countries.”

Read the full interview and download the report

The E-Commerce Negotiations in the WTO – understanding non-participation