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Plurilateral Trade Agreement Was Done at Geneva in: What You Need to Know

In late 2020, a plurilateral trade agreement was signed at the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva. This was a significant achievement, as it marked the first time in many years that a trade agreement had been struck among a group of WTO member countries. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what this agreement entails and what it means for global trade.

What is a Plurilateral Trade Agreement?

A plurilateral trade agreement is a trade agreement that involves only a subset of WTO member countries. Unlike a multilateral agreement, which involves all WTO members, a plurilateral agreement allows a group of like-minded countries to negotiate and agree on terms that are specific to their interests. In this case, the agreement was signed by 46 countries, which means it only applies to those countries.

What’s in the Agreement?

The plurilateral trade agreement signed at Geneva in 2020 is known as the Joint Statement Initiative on E-Commerce. As the name suggests, it aims to facilitate e-commerce trade among the signatory countries. The agreement covers a broad range of issues related to e-commerce, including data localization, customs duties on electronic transmissions, and consumer protection.

One of the biggest benefits of the agreement is that it will make it easier and more affordable for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to participate in e-commerce trade. The agreement includes provisions designed to lower the barriers to entry for SMEs, such as simplified customs procedures and streamlined regulations.

What are the Implications for Global Trade?

The signing of this plurilateral trade agreement is a positive development for global trade. It demonstrates that countries are still willing and able to negotiate and agree on trade deals, even at a time of rising protectionism and trade tensions.

The agreement also has the potential to increase global e-commerce trade, which is already a significant and growing part of the global economy. It’s estimated that e-commerce trade makes up around 15% of global trade and is growing at a rate of around 20% per year. The plurilateral agreement could help to accelerate this growth, particularly if other countries and regions decide to join the initiative.

Finally, the agreement could also serve as a model for future trade agreements. As more countries become interested in e-commerce trade, they may look to the Joint Statement Initiative on E-Commerce as a blueprint for their own agreements. This could help to create a more harmonized global e-commerce trade regime, which would benefit all countries and businesses involved.


The plurilateral trade agreement signed at Geneva in 2020 is an important milestone for global trade. While it only applies to the 46 signatory countries, it has the potential to increase global e-commerce trade and serve as a model for future trade agreements. As the world economy becomes increasingly digital and interconnected, agreements like this will become more and more important in facilitating global trade and ensuring that all countries and businesses can benefit from the opportunities of the digital age.

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