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MAY 17, 2022 | GLOBAL

Global Data Alliance Urges WTO to Renew Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions

BRUSSELS, NEW DELHI, SINGAPORE, SAO PAULO, WASHINGTON – May 17, 2022 – The Global Data Alliance is pleased to lead a Global Industry Statement – signed by more than 90 industry groups from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Oceania, and North and South America – supporting the renewal of the Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions at the WTO’s upcoming Ministerial Conference.

“The Moratorium on customs duties on content and transmissions shared over IT networks has been incredibly beneficial in the COVID-19 era,” said Joseph Whitlock, Executive Director of the Global Data Alliance. “Among other things, the Moratorium allows Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises worldwide to access and leverage digital tools for their business amidst physical restrictions and lockdowns. It’s critical for these enterprises and their workers, especially in remote locations, to maintain connectivity vis-à-vis partners and opportunities in foreign markets without facing new customs restrictions on business conducted over transnational IT networks.”

The Global Industry Statement notes that an expiration of the Moratorium would be a historic setback for the WTO, representing an unprecedented termination of a multilateral agreement in place nearly since the WTO’s inception.

Customs restrictions that interrupt cross-border access to knowledge and digital tools will harm MSMEs, the global supply chain, and COVID-19 recovery – increasing digital fragmentation. As UNCTAD explains, such fragmentation “reduces market opportunities for domestic MSMEs to reach worldwide markets, [and] ... reduces opportunities for digital innovation, including various missed opportunities for inclusive development that can be facilitated by engaging in data-sharing through strong international cooperation. ... [M]ost small, developing economies will lose opportunities for raising their digital competitiveness.”

Read the full statement here: https://globaldataalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/051322glwtomoratorium.pdf


The Global Data Alliance (globaldataalliance.org) is a cross-industry coalition of companies that are committed to high standards of data responsibility and that rely on the ability to transfer data around the world to innovate and create jobs. Alliance members are headquartered across the globe and are active in the advanced manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, consumer goods, electronics, financial services, health, media and entertainment, natural resources, supply chain, and telecommunications sectors, among others. BSA | The Software Alliance administers the Global Data Alliance.


Michael O’Brien

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