IGF 2019 WS #324 Trade-related aspects of e-commerce: What to expect?

Organizer 1: Pablo Viollier, Derechos Digitales
Organizer 2: Burcu Kilic, Public Citizen
Organizer 3: Francisco Javier Vera Hott, Privacy International
Organizer 4: Lisa Garcia, Foundation for Media Alternatives

Speaker 1: Pablo Viollier, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 2: Burcu Kilic, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Aufret Léa, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Policy Question(s): 

-How digital trade provisions affect privacy, consumer and human rights?
-What is the role of trade agreements in digital ecosystem?

Relevance to Theme: The panel will delve on the ongoing negotiation of e-commerce chapters in trade agreements and its far-reaching implications for privacy, competition, cybersecurity.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Trade agreements have become a relevant venue where key policy decisions are being made. The ratification of treaties that decide key issues such as cross border data flow, data localization and source code disclosure could have a huge impact in Internet governance and could undermine efforts to decide this issues in a more multi-stakeholder fashion.


Panel - Auditorium - 90 Min

Description: On the final day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, a group of 76 World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries announced its intention to commence negotiations on the sidelines of the WTO on trade-related aspects of e-commerce. These negotiations would likely cover topics including digital trade, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and net neutrality and radically influence public interests.

Many new digital policy matters have entered recent trade negotiations under the umbrella term “e-commerce.“ In trade discussions, they refer to issues that go beyond those related to how consumers buy goods and services online. Some countries proposing negotiations wish these negotiations to cover a range of issues with far-reaching implications for privacy, competition, cybersecurity, and the future of jobs. If not carefully negotiated, the outcome could be detrimental to consumer and human rights in the digital environment. It may also undermine nations' sovereign abilities to develop digital innovation policies that are suited to the national contexts.

This panel will dive into the history of how trade agreements came to include e-commerce issues. It will un-pack the policymaking process, the politics of the WTO, and lay out the topics that will be on the negotiation table.

Expected Outcomes: Participants should leave the panel with an improved knowledge of the negotiating status of different treaties in electronic commerce and with a better understanding of the impact that e-commerce chapters can have in terms of privacy, consumer rights and human rights

Onsite Moderator: 

Lisa Garcia, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator: 

Francisco Javier Vera Hott, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Lisa Garcia, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Discussion Facilitation: 

At the end of the session there will be a round of questions to the panelist. Also, we will encourage online participation and questions.

Online Participation: 

We will use our social media to encourage people to use IGF's remote participation tool for the session.


GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 12: Responsible Production and Consumption
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions