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Ambassador Shea: Electronic Commerce & Moratorium on Imposition of Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions
December 10, 2019

WTO General Council Meeting, December 9-12, 2019

Item 8. Work Programme on Electronic Commerce and Moratorium on the Imposition of Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions

We thank the Chair for her leadership on this issue and Switzerland for putting forward the original proposal to extend the customs duty moratorium.

Since WTO Members first established the prohibition on customs duties on electronic transmissions in 1998, the moratorium has supported the development of digital trade as an engine for global growth.

And there is a growing body of research that demonstrates the significant economic benefits of the moratorium for developed and developing countries alike.

In light of this evidence, the United States continues to believe that all WTO members should be prepared to agree to a permanent moratorium on customs duties on digital transmissions.

While we remain committed to this long-term goal, we recognize that this issue has always been addressed at the Minister level, and we are happy to resolve the ambiguity around the deadline agreed to at MC11 by agreeing to the statement extending the moratorium until MC12.

This statement also continues the work program on e-commerce, under which we look forward to continuing discussions.