ESF contributed to gather 178 trade associations from all over the world to sign a letter to all WTO Members calling for their support for the extension of the WTO Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions at the WTO’s Thirteenth Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi on 26-29 February 2024.

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The WTO provides a forum for negotiating agreements aimed at supporting international trade in goods and services. The goal of the WTO members is to increase their countries’ economic welfare by reducing any barriers to trade. The WTO also provides a legal and institutional framework for the implementation and monitoring of these agreements, as well as for settling disputes arising from their interpretation and application. The WTO monitors 16 mulitlateral agreements, to which all WTO members are parties, and two plurilateral agreements in which only a few of the WTO members participate. The trade in services negotiations take place within the framework of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA). The GATS Treaty ….

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The GATS negotiating proposals provide the basis for the DDA negotiations. They show each country’s position, which will lead them in drafting their requests vis-à-vis the other countries. According to the Doha Ministerial Declaration, the GATS Requests were to be tabled by the WTO members by 30 June 2002. The trading partners were then to start bilateral negotiations and to table their own Offers, by 31 March 2003 at the latest. Negotiations were provided to continue up to 1 January 2005, the deadline for concluding the whole set of WTO negotiations in a single undertaking.

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