E-commerce in the WTO Bashar H. Malkawi


E-commerce offers economy-wide benefits. World Trade Organization (WTO) members recognized the benefits e-commerce offers and have developed a work program to facilitate the development of e-commerce.

The GATS is of particular significance to e-commerce for several reasons. The communication services which provide access to e-commerce fall under the GATS.9 Second, the execution of an electronic transaction necessitates infrastructure services (distribution, payment, etc.) whose
liberalization equally falls under the GATS. In view of the acknowledged importance of telecommunication services, the access to public telecommunication networks was incorporated in a separate telecommunication annex. In addition, WTO members agreed to so-called Reference
Paper. The Reference paper provides for rules that shall prevent anticompetitive behavior in the telecommunications sector. The Reference Paper includes competition policy principles to ensure access to public telecommunication networks