ICC and over 170 business associations from across the world are calling on members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to renew the WTO Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions at the WTO’s upcoming 13th Ministerial Conference, which will take place in Abu Dhabi, UAE on 26-29 February 2024.
Without the renewal, the future of e-commerce and digital trade hangs in the balance. Governments could start to experiment with unilateral tariffs on everything from software, e-books, and cloud services to the data underlying popular streaming services, disrupting the digital economy and creating havoc for businesses across the world who all depend on the Moratorium to grow and operate their businesses.
The Global Industry Statement highlights that allowing the Moratorium to expire would be a historic setback for the WTO, representing an unprecedented termination of a multilateral agreement in place since 1998, which is more critical than ever at a time of unprecedented digital transformation.
The statement further states that continuation of the Moratorium is critical to ongoing COVID-19 recovery, supply chain resilience and particularly beneficial to micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises. It refers to recent studies that have demonstrated that any foregone revenue losses from the Moratorium are outweighed by the social, development and fiscal benefits arising from the growth of digital services.