European Journal of Law Reform


Assessing the Adequacy of Existing Multilateral Rules Regulating E-commerce

Lessons from EU Law

Keywords e-commerce, WTO, EU, digitalization, development
Authors Martin Luther Munu
Author's information

Martin Luther Munu
Martin Luther Munu is a PhD Candidate, Institute for Globalisation and International Regulation (IGIR); Faculty of Law, Maastricht University. Email:;
  • Abstract

      This article assesses the multilateral rules regulating e-commerce to identify their adequacies to provide the issues the European Union (EU) needs to consider as a player in World Trade Organization (WTO) e-commerce negotiations. The analysis uses six factors: facilitating imports and export, addressing tariffs as a form of government revenue, attracting investment, preserving policy space for digital industrialization, providing development assistance, and providing for different rights and obligations according to development levels. While existing multilateral rules have relevant provisions for regulating e-commerce, there are several limitations. The existing multilateral rules were designed to regulate broader issues, which ignore the new issues brought by digitalization. The EU Single Market, proposals for the digital services tax and the New Deal for Consumers provide important lessons that can help in shaping e-commerce rules at the WTO.

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