Journal article

E-commerce in light of international trade agreements: the WTO and the United States-Jordan Free Trade Agreement

International trade International agencies Free trade


E-commerce offers economy-wide benefits. World Trade Organization (WTO) members recognized the benefits e-commerce offers and have developed a work program to facilitate the development of e-commerce. However, WTO efforts to facilitate e-commerce have stalled, leading to a slower than anticipated progress. As fundamental differences continue to stall progress in the WTO’s program on e-commerce, the United States concluded a free trade agreement with Jordan. This agreement was the first ever to incorporate explicit provisions on e-commerce. This article analyzes how existing trade agreements have dealt with e-commerce. The article gives an overview of the situation in WTO. The article then examines the e-commerce provisions in the United States-Jordan Free Trade Agreement (US-JO FTA) and how the parties have tackled the obstacles that stalled the WTO work on e-commerce. It concludes that the US-JO FTA approach regarding e-commerce did not move beyond what the WTO has already done. It is argued that although there are specific provisions dealing with e-commerce in the FTA, the parties left many loopholes to be filled.

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