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The WTO, the Internet and Trade in Digital Products

EC-US Perspectives

By: Sacha Wunsch-Vincent
Media of The WTO, the Internet and Trade in Digital Products
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Published: 20-01-2006
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 326
ISBN: 9781841135731
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Series: Studies in International Trade and Investment Law
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £85.00
Online price : £76.50
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Loren Epson

About The WTO, the Internet and Trade in Digital Products

The rapid development of the Internet has led to a growing potential for electronic trade in digital content like movies, music and software. As a result, there is a need for a global trade framework applicable to such digitally-delivered content products. Yet, digital trade is currently not explicitly recognised by the trade rules and obligations of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

This study provides a complete analysis of the related challenges in the ongoing WTO Doha Negotiations to remedy this state of affairs. It elaborates on the required measures in the multilateral negotiations to achieve market access for digital content and examines the obstacles that lie on the path to reach consensus between the United States and the European Communities. Negotiation parameters analysed include the current US and EC regulatory approach to audiovisual and information society services and the evolution of their applicable trade policy jurisdiction. Finally, this examination takes stock of how the Doha Negotiations and parallel US-driven preferential trade agreement have so far contributed to securing free trade in digital content.

As new technologies are an increasingly prominent source of trade dispute, this book is an assessment of how WTO Members can maintain the relevance of the multilateral trade framework in a changing technological and economic environment.

"This important work highlights the missed opportunity in on-going global trade talks -- the failure to pursue a free trade framework for digitally delivered content. If not corrected, one can readily imagine the rise of discriminatory barriers to digital trade of the type that have dogged global trade flows for years, and a failed recognition by the WTO of the reality of modern commerce. The WTO should, as the author argues, put a "spotlight" on electronic trade, and move forward in a comprehensive fashion."
Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky, Former United States Trade Representative

"Wunsch-Vincent provides a comprehensive analysis of the challenges to establish a liberal trade regime for trade in digital products. This book will become an important point-of-reference for anybody interested in e-commerce and the WTO."
Carlos A. Primo Braga, Senior Adviser, International Trade Department, The World Bank

Table Of Contents


Part One: The WTO Negotiation Context
1 The WTO's Work Relating to Digitally-Delivered Content Products

Part Two: Requirements for Free Trade in Digitally-Delivered Content Products
2 Unresolved Horizontal WTO E-Commerce Questions
3 Essential Improvements of WTO Trade Commitments

Part Three: Internal US and EC Negotiation Parameters
4 US Negotiation Parameters: Internal Measures and Trade Jurisdiction
5 EC Negotiation Parameters: Internal Measures and Trade Jurisdiction

Part Four: Outcomes of the Doha Round and US-driven Preferential Trade Negotiations
6 Digital Trade Achievements of the Doha Development Agenda: Slow or Absent Progress
7 Digital Trade Achievements of Parallel US Bilateral and Regional Trade Negotiations: Mixed Results

8 Conclusion


“The work is timely because, as the author recognizes, this new area of international trade is lightly and incompletely regulated...the author has done exactly what he set out to do, firmly cementing himself as a leading commentator on trade in digital products and this book as compulsory reading for anyone hoping to understand the field.” –  Andrew Mitchell, Global Law Books

“…it deserves attention not only from the academic world, but also from both policy makers and business community…this book merits being on the bookshelf of anyone interested in this far important and interesting topic. The author has filled in a gap in academic literature with a substantive analysis of the requirements that must be addressed in the relevant ongoing multilateral trade talks to achieve a fully liberal trade flow of digitally delivered content products.” –  Katia Bodard, SCRIPT-ed

“…the WTO rules do not yet provide a clear legal framework for international trade in digitally-delivered content products. Wunsch-Vincent's book provides a well-written, thorough and lucid analysis of the challenges the WTO faces with regard to these products.” –  Marco Slotboom, Common Market Law Review, Vol 44, Issue 1

“The author exposes the complex range of politics and cultural issues that lurk under the surface…The text provides an exceptional level of detail that clearly demonstrates the issues facing the WTO today.” –  Stephen Mason, Society for Computers & Law

“... this is a very convincing, very thorough, and very pessimistic analysis of why one of the most promising areas of international trade… remains on uncharted waters….a must read for all practitioners, analysts, and researchers interested in multilateral trade negotiations. It will also be a valuable source of reflection for anyone trying to understand and anticipate how deeply international relations are and will be affected by the information revolution.” –  Bruno Lanvin, Journal of International Economic Law, Volume 9, no. 3

“...thorough, balanced, and unique examination of the international trade policy framework governing the exchange of 'digitally-delivered content products'...” –  Judson O. Berkley, Journal of World Trade

“...clearly a highly important contribution and will become compulsory reading for anybody interested in this subject area - academics, policy practitioners and members of the business community alike.” –  Martin Gedult v. Jungenfeld, Swiss Trade Newsletter

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