PH backs extension of moratorium on custom duties for e-commerce transactions

Recognizing the importance of e-commerce in facilitating cross-border trade in goods and services, the Philippines during the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva, Switzerland expressed its support for the extension of the moratorium on the imposition of customs duties on electronic transmissions until the next Ministerial Conference. 

DTI assistant secretary Allan Gepty delivering the Philippine statement at the Thematic Session on Electronic Commerce Work Program and Moratorium in Geneva, Switzerland
Photo from DTI

The Philippines also stressed the need to advance the work under the Electronic Commerce Work Program and highlighted the vital role of electronic commerce in the global post-pandemic recovery. 

 The Philippines co-sponsored the draft ministerial decision seeking to reinvigorate the work program through intensified discussions based on proposals submitted by members, including regarding development-related issues. 

Speaking at the conference, DTI assistant secretary Allan B. Gepty stated that there is a need “to maintain a stable and predictable digital trading environment not only for big businesses but especially for MSMEs and women entrepreneurs to boost economic growth.”

It should be noted that one of the priorities of the Philippines is to facilitate the integration of MSMEs into the global value chain and e-commerce is one key platform for this, the DTI official said. 

In line with this, “The Philippines looks forward to delivering a Ministerial Decision on this important issue that will have significant impact to Members, including developing and least developed countries,” Gepty added.

According to DTI undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo, “Another important advantage of a stable and predictable online environment is that it would further strengthen the positioning of the country as an innovation hub, and an ideal location for hyperscale data center. Thus, we support initiative that contributes to this objective.”

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