The Eleventh Ministerial Conference (MC11) took place from 10 to 13 December 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was chaired by Minister Susana Malcorra of Argentina. The Conference ended with a number of ministerial decisions, including on fisheries subsidies and duties on electronic transmissions, and a commitment to continue negotiations in all areas.
Regarding e-commerce, the Ministerial Conference agreed to:
- continue the work under the Work Programme on Electronic Commerce, based on the existing mandate as set out in WT/L/274;
- endeavour to reinvigorate their work and instruct the General Council to hold periodic reviews in its sessions of July and December 2018 and July 2019 based on the reports submitted by the relevant WTO bodies and report to the next session of the Ministerial Conference; and
- maintain the current practice of not imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions until our next session in 2019.
With respect to E-Commerce, the WCO issued communication from the International Customs community on the occasion of MC11 indicating that E-commerce is posing several challenges, as well as offering opportunities, for governments and business alike. The WCO has been working with private sectors and stakeholders, include the IFCBA, to detail key drivers of E-Commerce.
As well, for the first time in the history of the WTO, members and observers have endorsed a collective initiative to increase the participation of women in trade. In order to help women reach their full potential in the world economy, 118 WTO members and observers agreed to support the Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade, which seeks to remove barriers to, and foster, women’s economic empowerment.
Other information that may be of interest to members can be found on the WTO website.