Wednesday 19 July 2017

Demand for ‘global ecommerce rules’ to heighten at RCEP meet in India
India could see new developments related to the ecommerce industry as the ongoing free-trade agreement (FTA) negotiations between participating countries are going to focus more on ecommerce.
Talks around ecommerce would get more room during the 19th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Trade ministers of member nations are going to be part of this meeting, which is being held from July 18th to 28th in Hyderabad, India.
“All member-nations have agreed to widen the scope of discussions on the issue and a list of tentative points to be deliberated upon have been drawn up,” disclosed a person aware of the development.

RCEP 101

As Indian Online Seller had earlier explained,
  • Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement between ten ASEAN countries and six ASEAN FTA partners
  • It includes Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma (Myanmar), Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand & Vietnam and 6 trade partner countries, India, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea
  • RCEP covers trade in agricultural goods, industrial goods, services, investment, competition & dispute settlement, economic & technical co-operation and intellectual property
  • Primary purpose of this body is to devise a modern trade and investment structure between participating countries that suits the present business environment, while following ethical business practices, strict norms of open accession, transparency, and best standards
As of now, eighteen rounds of the Trade Negotiating Committee, four rounds of Ministerial Meetings, and three rounds Inter-sessional Ministerial Meetings have taken place. This is the 19th round and the last one was held in May. The meetings are expected to continue till the first half of next year – 2018, according to reports.

Developed countries push for global ecommerce rule

In September 2015, RCEP had demanded/suggested that India should relax its strict FDI policy for ecommerce industry. The rules were eventually relaxed with the passage of 100% FDI in ecommerce rule in March 2016.
Now the developed countries that are part of RCEP want global ecommerce rules. India has been evading talks around this but the trade officials would have to engage in these negotiations during the Hyderabad meeting.
Few other ecommerce related things that are most likely to be discussed are:
  • Consumer protection
  • Domestic regulatory frameworks
  • Customs duties
  • Data security norms
The impressive growth of the global ecommerce industry, especially in developing countries like India, is the chief reason behind developed countries’ interest in including ecommerce in trade discussions. International ecommerce biggies have set eyes on developing nations. And for the same, they need rules that could improve the ease of doing business in such countries.

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