The WTO is working on the modernisation of cross-border e-commerce regulations

March 12, 2019 by
Nico Hoeijmans

According to
Axios, the e-commerce market became a 3.5 trillion dollar global market, of which approximately 700 billion dollars is spent on cross-border purchases. However, almost no international or global rules are currently in place.

75 countries have agreed to talk about cross-border e-commerce with the WTO (World Trade Organisation), this month. Global e-commerce is one of the most complicated and yet fastest-growing areas of international trade.

The trade agreements that are presently in place, have existed since before the digital area. International shipment volumes have increased by 200% since the year 2000, which is a problem due to the agreements only covering large shipments through entry-ports. Since then, e-commerce has released a rush of small parcels that are overwhelming customs inspectors. It is expected that cross-border purchases will increase their worth to 1 trillion dollars next year.

The United States, China (which has the world’s biggest e-commerce market) and the European Union, are working together to come up with a solution for this problem.

Since every country has a different legal framework, it is more difficult to come up with one solution that works for every nation. For example, regulations on alcohol and weapons are accompanied by the legal age of adulthood - which varies per country. Research from Pitney Bowes shows that a solution needs to be found that defends each country’s legal rights.

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