Why do developing countries fear digital trade in WTO?

The last WTO Ministerial meeting was held in Bueno Aires. Argentina in 2017, some countries stressed for displacing the “development agenda “ for a new agenda on digital trade.

However, most of developing countries expressed their fear of this displacement. The concerns raised by them are as follows:

  1. Few global players will dominate the e-commerce field.
  2. Domestic players will be at a disadvantage.
  3. Digital trade is still it in its nascent stage in most developing countries.
  4. Polices and rules of large corporations will not benefit small domestic enterprises.
  5. World Economic Forum (WEF) is used as a platform by developed countries to favour their large corporations.
  6. No concrete policy on taxation, consumer protection and employment generation in digital trade.

Measures need to be taken:

  1. Structural transformation in employment generation.
  2. Development focused digital industrialization strategy.
  3. Need for investment in developing countries legal, technical and economic infrastructures.
  4. Concrete policy formation to develop and support domestic industries.
  5. Strategically promote domestic micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
  6. Ensure proper taxation and investment.
  7. Ensure proper universal benefits of the digital economy.
  8. Advance consumer welfare and privacy through enforceable consumer protection.
  9. Sound competition practices.

Civil society organization, consumer and environmental groups and other institution should come forward to reject this unfair practice. The “development agenda “ is the pre-requisite for developing countries especial for India.

Do we need WTO or not ?

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