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Partner meetings

State of play of WTO negotiations on e-commerce, investment facilitation and domestic regulations

The purpose of this CSD meeting is to debrief civil society organisations on these three WTO Joint Statement initiatives and to discuss the EU objectives and challenges faced in these negotiations.

  • Date: 15/12/2020, 10:00-12:00
  • Location: WebEx

Meeting details

In today's integrated global economy, the expansion of investment flows, which are indispensable for development, depends on making investment frameworks more transparent, predictable and efficient.  In recognition of the dynamic links between trade, investment and development, 106 WTO members, including both developed and developing countries, are engaged in negotiations with the aim of developing a multilateral framework for facilitating foreign direct investment and contributing to sustainable development. This WTO agreement on investment facilitation for development would build on measures such as making investment conditions and opportunities more transparent and streamlining administrative procedures relevant to foreign direct investment.

The e-Commerce Joint Statement Initiative in the WTO aims at developing global rules to facilitate e-commerce transactions. There is a wide range of issues on the table i.a. in the areas of trade facilitation, cross-border data flows, consumer protection, the facilitation of electronic transactions (e.g. e-signatures, e-contracts), the protection of software source code and market access both in goods and services. Currently 86 WTO Members are engaged in the negotiations, which were launched in Davos in January 2019, including a high number of developing countries.

The WTO negotiations on domestic regulation in services aim at developing rules to facilitate trade in services inter alia by improving transparency and streamlining authorisation procedures for service suppliers. When adopted, these rules will benefit domestic and foreign service suppliers and therefore facilitate the provision of services both domestically and cross-border. Improving transparency and ensuring that authorisation procedures are objective, fast and predictable is particularly beneficial for smaller players (e.g. SMEs), who often do not have the means to deal with complex licencing or authorisation procedures in foreign markets. There have been many years of WTO negotiations on this topic. Negotiations shifted to a plurilateral format at the end of 2017, building on a Joint Statement issued by a group of 59 WTO Members at MC11.

The purpose of this CSD meeting is to debrief civil society organisations on these three WTO Joint Statement initiatives and to discuss the EU objectives and challenges faced in these negotiations. The Commission looks forward to hearing civil society views and expectations in this regard.


Lead participants

  • Head of Unit, Investment and Intellectual Property, Directorate-General for Trade
  • Head of Unit, Services and Digital Trade, Directorate-General for Trade
  • Services negotiator, Services and Digital Trade Unit, Directorate-General for Trade


  • Deputy-Head of Unit, Information, Communication and Civil Society Unit, Directorate-General for Trade


  1. Introduction to investment facilitation
  2. Introduction to e-commerce
  3. Introduction to domestic regulation in services
  4. Open discussion with stakeholders.

The meeting will take place via WEBEX. Access code and password will be sent to registered participants. We would be grateful if participants could launch their WEBEX connection 30 minutes in advance of the meeting so that any technical problems can be arranged in time before the meeting.

Related documents

  • World Trade Organisation
  • Tuesday 15 December 2020, 10:00 - 12:00 (CET)
  • Live streaming available
Trade topics
  • Digital trade
  • Investment
Event type

Practical information

Tuesday 15 December 2020, 10:00 - 12:00 (CET)
Directorate-General for Trade