India will maintain its stance on not framing global rules on ecommerce at the G-20 Ministerial meeting on trade and digital economy at Tsukuba City, Japan. It will also be Piyush Goyal’s first international engagement as the newly appointed commerce & industry minister.
According to a report by BusinessLine, Piyush Goyal will be arguing that it would be premature to go in for multilateral rules on e-commerce as the sector was still evolving.
India has consistently opposed global rules on ecommerce and has argued that such discussions strike at the roots of a multilateral trading system due to their asymmetrical nature in the existing global ecommerce space.
Being the host country, Japan is keen on negotiating ecommerce rules at the World Trade Organization (WTO) platform. It is likely to ask for a consensus on the matter amongst G-20 members. G-20 comprises of the EU as a bloc and 19 countries including Argentina, India, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, the US, China, Australia, South Africa, Turkey, and the UK.
Indian Ecommerce Policies Face Criticism
According to an ET report, there have been several meetings planned around the G20; however, a meeting with the US hasn’t been decided yet. Last week, the US terminated preferential tariffs on $5.6 Bn worth of Indian exports, stating that the Indian government has not committed to providing equitable and reasonable access to its markets.
American ecommerce giants Walmart and Amazon have also criticised India’s ecommerce rules that don’t allow companies with foreign investment to sell products through firms where they have equity interest. Indian laws also prevent them from making deals with sellers exclusively on their platform.
The US has also criticised India’s data localisation policies, saying that the country lacks infrastructure which can hold these companies’ data. India, on the other hand, has asserted that it holds sovereign right over all the consumer data generated in the country.
Support From South Africa
Among G-20 members, India will have support from South Africa. According to The Hindu’s BusinessLine, South Africa shares a similar stand as India and that the two countries are likely to put a strong opposition. The two countries are also not part of the plurilateral negotiations on ecommerce launched by over 70 members at the WTO, including the EU, Switzerland, China, Korea, Nigeria, Russia, Norway, and Panama.
The ministerial meeting in Tsukuba City will be a gateway to the G-20 meeting of the Heads of State at the G-20 later this month in Osaka, Japan.
The report also said that if India fails to negate attempts of including ecommerce rule-making under Piyush Goyal, it will be under pressure to comply with global ecommerce negotiations in the G-20 declaration which is to be signed by the Heads of State.