electronic commerce

The WTO at a Crossroads

Having agreements that may not apply to all members also makes using the final agreements trickier for companies.  The main reason for negotiating trade rules in the first place is to create common practices for businesses to help reduce risk and uncertainty in the trade environment.  However, as the WTO has gotten bigger and as some members have grown bolder in their obsession with using the consensus principle as a means for blocking all actions, the institution has clearly gotten bogged down.   One way to move forward is to allow smaller groupings to proceed with issues that matter to them.  This process is now, apparently, going to begin again at the WTO.  First on the agenda is the start of a possible work program on electronic commerce, supported by about 70 members.