E-com: RCEP nations start detailed talks

India opposing:

  • India has been opposing binding norms on opening up the e-commerce sector at the level of RCEP as well as the global level (World Trade Organisation) talks on grounds including that it (India) is yet to have a comprehensive national policy on the topic.

  • However, it is understood that many RCEP nations including Australia, Japan and China, are pushing for inclusion of a host of elements for ‘Terms Of Reference’ (TOR) for RCEP negotiations concerning e-commerce.

  • This with a view to have some binding commitments from the RCEP members on liberalising e-commerce and ensure that the final pact will have a separate chapter on e-commerce.

Proposed Elements for TOR:

  • The proposed elements for the TOR (for negotiations) are understood to include “paperless trading, electronic signatures and digital certification, online consumer protection, online personal data protection, unsolicited commercial email, domestic regulatory frameworks, customs duties (on electronic transmissions), non-discriminatory treatment of digital products, prohibition on requirements concerning the location of computing facilities, prohibition on requirements concerning the disclosure of source code as well as cross-border transfer of information by electronic means.”


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