According to media sources, nearly 70 WTO members have supported discussions on the development of global e-commerce rules to address the general lack of rule constraints in the global e-commerce industry. Despite the support of the majority of countries, India still stands firm in its opposition.
India, South Africa and Saudi Arabia have all long opposed global e-commerce rules. At the recent G20 summit, however, even South Africa said there was little support for blocking a global framework of rules on e-commerce or digital trade as the continent began to see the potential benefits, according to government sources.
Indian government officials, for their part, say India will stick to its opposition because of the minimal benefits that Indian consumers and domestic companies derive from it. “Even if 160 countries support the development of global e-commerce rules, India will insist on opposing them,” a source said. ”
India’s concerns about global e-commerce rules stem from a lack of domestic policies and a push by the United States and Europe for a free flow of data. For example, the United States and some member states of the European Union have publicly called for the removal of data localization requirements. And with the support of the trump administration, tech companies like Amazon and WhatsApp have begun to Sue the requirement.
In addition, the Indian Government is concerned that the move could force developing and least developed countries to lower tariffs and ease restrictions on trade in services, which have always been developed independently by the state.
Indeed, the EU has sought to expand the product range of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), which India has been trying to avoid and has yet to sign ITA-2. Many policymakers see signing ITA-1 as a mistake because it limits the government to impose import duties on some electronic products.