Abu-Ghazaleh Calls on WTO for A Round of Negotiations on Digital and Knowledge Products Trade

GENEVA- The World Trade Organization (WTO) General Council meeting was held with the participation of governments, European Commission and international organizations concerned with international trade to discuss the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) in addition to the latest development on international trade. 

At the Special Session of the Committee on Trade and Development, HE Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh stated that there is an urgent need to initiate a new round of multilateral negotiations on trade in digital and knowledge based products and to draft new modes of trade confirmed by the WTO due to the fact that the Organization's GATT and GATS were drafted prior to the Internet era.

Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh focused on the below facts:

Every person is capable of becoming a merchant in the world of Internet 
Internet changed regulations and methods of the international trade 
A new trade emerged which is not a product or a service but a digital product
It is about time to start a new multilateral round of negotiations to reach to conclude a General Agreement on Internet and Trade (GAIT) as a third pillar after GATT and GATS.  

 It is worth noting that Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh is a member of the World Trade Organization Expert Panel (WTO-EP) for defining the future of world trade and had issued a report under the title "WTO at the Crossroads, A Report on the Imperative of a WTO Reform Agenda."

The General Council is the WTO’s highest-level decision-making body in Geneva, meeting regularly to carry out the functions of the WTO. It has representatives (usually ambassadors or equivalent) from all member governments and has the authority to act on behalf of the ministerial conference which only meets about every two years.