SBE Council Joins Business Allies Urging WTO to Renew Moratorium on Customs Duties and Electronic Transmission

By at 2 June, 2022, 8:25 am

On June 2, SBE Council joined a wide array of business organizations in issuing a Global Industry Statement urging WTO members to renew the Moratorium on Customs Duties and Electronic Transmissions. Several countries, including India and South Africa, are pushing to end the moratorium. As noted in the statement:

● Allowing the Moratorium to expire would be a historic setback for the WTO, representing an unprecedented termination of a multilateral agreement in place nearly since the WTO’s inception – an agreement that has allowed the digital economy to take root and grow. All WTO members have a stake in the organization’s continued institutional credibility and resilience, as well as its relevance at a time of unprecedented digital transformation.

● Continuation of the Moratorium is critical to the COVID-19 recovery. As detailed by the United Nations, the World Bank, the OECD, and many other organizations, the cross-border exchange of knowledge, technical know-how, and scientific and commercial information across transnational IT networks, as well as access to digital tools and global market opportunities have helped sustain economies, expand education, and raise global living standards.

● Continuation of the Moratorium is also important to supply chain resilience for manufacturing and services industries in the COVID-19 era. Manufacturers – both large and small, and across a range of industrial sectors – rely on the constant flow of research, design, and process data and software to enable their production flows and supply chains for critical products.

● The Moratorium is particularly beneficial to Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs), whose ability to access and leverage digital tools has allowed them to stay in business amidst physical restrictions and lockdowns.

A joint bipartisan Senate/House letter was delivered to USTR Representative Katherine Tai in support of the moratorium, and urging that the U.S. insist on renewal. Read more about the issue, and the impact if the moratorium would expire in this Op-Ed in The Hill.


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