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Christine Riefa – Definition of standards for global e-commerce and consumer protection at the WTO: what can be learnt from TRIPS?

Research Seminar – Wednesday 18 September 2019, 16:00, room W416

Electronic commerce is becoming increasingly global. What is the most effective way to regulate e-commerce given the fact that jurisdictional boundaries are still the primary frame of reference? A global regime to bypass the transnational nature of electronic commerce is a tempting proposition. But what shape should it take? The WTO has a comprehensive and reputable dispute settlement system that governs its complex rules on international trade in goods, services and intellectual property. This makes the WTO a relevant starting point as a potential governor of e-commerce.[1][1] However many questions remains as to what agreement may apply to cross border transactions and e-commerce. Should they come under GATT or GATS? IP seats alongside trade in goods and services at the WTO with its own agreement. Amidst the uncertainty, it is useful to turn to TRIPS as a potential model. This talk reviews the pros and cons of using WTO and pushing for a treatment of electronic commerce similar to TRIPS in as far as it would provide a sui generis framework.

 Christine Riefa is Reader at Brunel University Law School, specialising in consumer and internet law, and a Visiting Research Fellow at CIPPM.