India’s CII members meet WTO chief, say no to e-comm talks

Indian industry representatives recently voiced their dissent over negotiations on e-commerce regulations at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in a meeting with its director general Roberto Azevedo in New Delhi organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Azevedo was in India to participate in an informal ministerial meeting on March 20 hosted by India.


Industry representatives feel multilateral e-commerce rules may not create a level-playing field between big firms and smaller start-ups and prove to be an advantage for the bigger players dominating e-commerce in India, a report in a top Indian business daily quoted a CII official as saying.

The industry is also worried because of the lack of a clear definition of e-commerce and the scope of its coverage, with no clarity either on the final form of the pact, the CII official said.

Some feel such an agreement may lead to goods being imported at zero duties through online trade.

On investment facilitation, another new issue being pushed by some developed nations at the WTO, the industry representatives said that while they did not oppose such a pact, they wanted the government to retain its policy space to take decisions suitable to the development needs of the country.

India is hopeful of the informal New Delhi meeting succeeding in identifying ways in which the global trade talks could be revitalised. The full-fledged WTO ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires in December 2017 had failed to deliver concrete results.

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