India will not join the negotiations with the World Trade Organization (WTO) to develop trade rules on e-commerce as it is working on a national ecommerce policy, which will be finalised soon. In its draft national e-commerce policy, India has proposed regulating cross-border data flows, locating computing facilities within the country to ensure job creation and setting up a dedicated ‘data authority’ for issues related to sharing of community data.
The e-commerce policy will pursue the existing multilateral work programme that prohibits countries from imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions, something that India and South Africa have questioned, citing revenue loss to developing nations.
India has also sought reforms of the multilateral body and resolution of outstanding issues urgently. Its top most priority is to protect and preserve the system, fix the Appellate Body issue so that the independent dispute settlement mechanism can function effectively.