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WTO and Developing Countries



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E Commerce WTO and Developing Countries Arvind Panagariya Running Title E Commerce WTO and Developing Countries Revised May 3 1999 I am deeply indebted to Susan Teltscher for discussions on virtually all aspects of the paper as it progressed I also benefited greatly from comments by Bijit Bora Aaditya Mattoo and two referees Also helpful were discussions with Jolita Butkeviciene The inspiration to work on e commerce came from John Cuddy who invited me to spend a month as a Visiting Scholar in the Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities UNCTAD Geneva during the summer of 1999 The responsibility for the contents of the paper rests solely with me and not UNCTAD Contents 1 Introduction 1 2 Which Multilateral Discipline GATT GATS or Both 2 3 Mode 1 or Mode 2 8 4 Access to E Commerce 10 4 1 Access to Internet Services 11 i Availability of Infrastructure Hardware and Software 11 ii Access to Communications Networks 11 4 2 5 Access to Electronically Traded Services 14 E Commerce and Developing Countries 16 5 1 The Gains from Internet to Developing Countries 16 5 2 Policies for the Expansion of E commerce 22 6 Conclusions 28 ii 1 Introduction Even though phone fax and television remain the most widely used electronic mediums to promote or conduct commerce much of the current excitement confusion and debate on e commerce are the result of the rapid ascendancy of Internet This medium of transmission has made possible international transmission of services on a scale that was not possible via fax phone and television Internet is being used today to buy abroad many backoffice services such as electronic publishing website design and management customer call centers medical records management hotel reservations credit card authorizations remote secretarial services mailing list management technical on line support indexing and abstracting services research and technical writing and technical transcription It has also become a medium for electronic



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