WTO ban on tariffs for digital trade extended until June 2020
 

Send a link to a friend  Share

[December 10, 2019]   By Emma Farge

GENEVA (Reuters) - World Trade Organization (WTO) members agreed on Tuesday to renew a 20-year moratorium on placing tariffs on digital trade for six months, allaying fears that people would have to pay duties on e-books and software for the first time.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters are pictured in Geneva, Switzerland, July 26, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

The moratorium on digital trade worth an estimated $225 billion a year has been in place since 1998, but was due to expire in December and required unanimity at the WTO for renewal.

"Members agree to maintain the current practice of not imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions until the 12th Ministerial Conference," the General Council's decision said, referring to a WTO meeting in Kazakhstan in June.

The decision came after talks ran late into Monday evening, two trade officials said.

Several countries, including India and South Africa, have expressed interest in lifting the moratorium as they develop their digital economies and seek to recuperate lost customs revenue as more trade becomes digital. Some said this could lead to tit-to-tat tariffs on the internet.

John Denton, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the decision and said it indicated "the continued value of the WTO as a forum for multilateral trade policy making" after members failed to resolve a crisis at its top court on Monday.

(Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by David Clarke and Mark Potter)

[ 2019 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

Copyright 2019 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.  Thompson Reuters is solely responsible for this content.

 

 

Back to top