International Framework

World Trade Organization (WTO)

The WTO is the international multilateral forum for negotiating and enforcing global rules governing cross-border trade in goods and services .The mandate of WTO does not include the regulation of electronic commerce per se, however the WTO is currently exploring together with its member countries how electronic commerce -as applied to trade in electronic goods and services- should be dealt within the context of the Uruguay Round Agreements and the Doha Development Agenda.

Relevant Publications

  • Sacha Wunsch, Vincent & Joanna McIntosh, “WTO, E-Commerce and Information Technologies. From the Uruguay Round to the Doha Development Agenda.” A Report for the United Nations Information Communications Technology (UN-ICT) Task Force pdf

    This report for the UN-ICT Task Force reviews the history of the WTO’s work on e-commerce and Information Technology (IT) trade between 1995 and 2003 and provides a comprehensive perspective of how WTO Members may further apply the rules-based trading system to e-commerce/IT through the Doha Development Agenda. Its purpose is to provide developing nations, civil society and non-WTO experts who are interested in the trade dimensions of e-commerce/IT with a reference that will explain both the scope and importance of the WTO's role in Information Technology governance and policy work on e-commerce.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

  1. Guidelines For Consumer Protection in the Context of Electronic Commerce
    (December 9, 1999)

    These guidelines were designed to help ensure that consumers are no less protected when shopping online than they are when they buy from brick and mortar stores or order from catalogues. The OECD CP Guidelines are intended to help eliminate some of the uncertainties that both consumers and businesses encounter when buying and selling online and continue to be the core international instrument in assisting governments, business and consumer representatives to develop and implement online consumer protection mechanisms without erecting barriers to trade and help build and maintain consumer confidence in electronic commerce.

  2. Guidelines for Protecting Consumers from Fraudulent and Deceptive Commercial Practices Across Borders
    (June 11, 2003)

    These guidelines set forth broad principles for international co-operation and specific provisions covering notification, information sharing, and assistance with investigations. They also cover issues regarding the authority of consumer protection enforcement agencies, invite private-sector co-operation, and set the stage for future work on the issue of consumer redress.

United Nations

  1. United Nations Guidelines on Consumer Protection

    (As Expanded July 26, 1999)

    As a result of the negotiations undertaken by the International Organization of Consumer Unions, the UN General Assembly approved on April 16, 1985 the Resolution 39/248 that establishes and adopts the United Nations Guidelines on Consumer Protection, which is a set of recommendations on which the UN member states should develop consumer protection policy and legislation. This is the expanded version of the original guidelines of 1985 approved as Resolution 199/7 of July 26, 1999.
  2. The United Nations Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Science, Technology and ICT Branch

    The UNCTAD’s Science, Technology and ICT Branch carries out policy-oriented analytical work on the implications for developing countries of the adoption of ICT, Internet and e-business technologies. This branch is responsible for implementing the organization's mandate in this field. The mandate is established by the member States at the Ministerial Conference, which is held once every four years, and is implemented by the UNCTAD Trade and Development Board (TDB).

    Relevant Documents

    [LINK] The Information Economy Report 2009: Trends and Outlooks in Turbulent Times (22 October 2009)

    [LINK] Estudio sobre las Perspectivas de Armonización de la Ciberlegislación en América Latina (Junio de 2009)

    [LINK] UNCTAD Information Economy Report 2007-2008. Science and technology for development: the new paradigm of ICT

    [LINK] UNCTAD Information Economy Report 2006. The development perspective

    [LINK] UNCTAD Information Economy Report 2005. e-commerce and development

    [LINK] UNCTAD E-Commerce and Development Report 2004

    [LINK] UNCTAD E-Commerce and Development Report 2003

    [LINK] UNCTAD E-Commerce and Development Report 2002

    [LINK] UNCTAD E-Commerce and Development Report 2001

    [LINK] UNCTAD E-Commerce and Development Report 2000

    [LINK] UNCTAD, Electronic Commerce: Legal Considerations