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Prioritizing Crypto in E-Commerce Negotiations: Indian Think Tank’s Appeal to WTO Members

GTRI’s Call for Crypto Inclusion in WTO E-Commerce Framework

The Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI), an Indian think tank, has taken a proactive stance by urging members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to consider incorporating cryptocurrency discussions within the framework of e-commerce negotiations. This call stems from the increasing global attention on the cryptocurrency market and the need for clarifications within the WTO e-commerce framework.

The Drive for Crypto-Related Discussions

India has made a formal request to fellow WHO member countries to incorporate crypto-related issues into the ongoing negotiations concerning the e-commerce sector. While cryptocurrencies have gained prominence on a global scale, the e-commerce framework within the WTO remains relatively ambiguous, as noted by the GTRI.

GTRI’s Advocacy in Geneva

During a meeting involving high-ranking officials of various World Trade Organization (WTO) member nations in Geneva last week, the GTRI presented its proposal. The think tank emphasizes that the intricate dynamics of the e-commerce landscape play a pivotal role in the context of global digital trade.

According to Ajay Srivastava, Co-Founder of GTRI, the multifaceted nature of e-commerce necessitates focused attention in global discussions.

The Need for Prioritizing Crypto Discussions

Srivastava asserts that WTO member nations must prioritize discussions related to cryptocurrencies within the e-commerce framework before interpretations lead to disputes. This emphasis on clarity is essential for the effective integration of cryptocurrency-related matters into international trade agreements.

Clarity on Crypto Exchanges Within E-Commerce

One of the core concerns raised by GTRI involves the classification of crypto exchanges within the scope of WTO e-commerce discussions. The think tank seeks clarity on whether crypto exchanges should be categorized as ‘electronic transmissions,’ thereby positioning them as integral components of e-commerce transactions.

Cryptos and Digital Transmission

GTRI underscores the significance of digital transmission in cryptocurrency exchanges, indicating that this characteristic qualifies them as e-commerce transactions. This recognition is pivotal for facilitating productive discussions and establishing well-defined guidelines within the WTO framework.

The E-Commerce Moratorium

The e-commerce moratorium, established in 1988, prevents countries from imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions. In June 2022, the moratorium was extended for an additional two years, despite India’s opposition. India’s stance revolved around the adverse effects of the moratorium on developing nations, emphasizing the need to safeguard policy flexibility for digital advancement, the regulation of imports, and revenue generation through custom duties.

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