E- Commerce to be discussed
Talks on the proposed global rules on e-commerce are likely to take centre stage during the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevêdo’s two-day visit to India starting.

India has been opposing attempts, mainly by the rich nations, to incorporate what it calls, ‘new issues’ such as e-commerce and investment in the ongoing Doha Round talks of the WTO on the grounds that it would lead to the ‘dilution’ of the ‘development agenda’ (that is to improve the trading prospects of developing countries) of the negotiations.

New Delhi has said these topics cannot be made part of the formal agenda of WTO negotiations without consensus among all the WTO member nations.

Important issues pertaining to e-commerce
1. During the recent stakeholder discussions on e-commerce, several Indian companies had expressed reservations regarding a global, regional or bilateral pact on e-commerce fearing it would favour multinational firms.

2. India’s e-commerce policy is not evolved to take a stand regarding a global e-commerce pact, there were differences between ministries on issues like ‘data localisation.’

Data localization
Storing user data in a datacenter on the Internet that is physically situated in the same country where the data originated. People who fear losing private data to hackers favor data localization. However, opponents claim it destroys the flexibility of the Internet, where data can be duplicated around the world for backup and efficient access.

3. The inter-ministerial discussions were also being held regarding policies on cybersecurity and hacking, fake goods and piracy, net-neutrality as well as on safeguards to protect consumer data and ensure privacy.

State of e-commerce
As per the WTO, in 2015, global e-commerce in goods and services was worth about $22 trillion, and has grown the fastest in emerging economies.