Letter DG Trade - ESF, 14 July 2019


GATS Basics

GATS 2000

GATS Debate






Brussels, 14 July 2019

Dear Mr. Kerneis,

I would like to thank you for the useful contribution made by the ESF to the debate on the issue of WTO and E-commerce. In particular, I read with much interest the paper adopted by ESF, which you sent me recently. I know that this paper has been debated in details with my services and presented to the Member States. It shows a remarkable convergence of views between ESF and the European Commission. Most notably I take good note of your support for our work on the issues we intend to pursue in the WTO trade programme and for our proposal to promote e-commerce in the market access negotiations for services by designing a cluster of services that are necessary to carry out e-commerce.

I would like that we continue to dialogue on the details of these issues and, without enlarging upon all of them at this stage, I would like to call on your further detailed contribution on one burning issue, which is the participation of developing countries in e-commerce. As you rightfully point out, success stories should be found and documented as case studies : we rely very much on your knowledge of what is happening in your affiliates or partners in developing countries, and we call upon your members to provide such examples. Once we have documented a sufficient number of case studies from your members and other companies, we would like to present them in the WTO (most probably the Committee for Trade and Development). This is urgent since it will help a lot to make developing countries understand how they can benefit from e-commerce. And in turn, it will smooth our discussions on rules and commitments in the WTO.

Looking forward to our close cooperation on these issues, I remain,

Yours truly,


Pascal Lamy

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