Thematic Session on Conformity assessment and e-commerce

WTO e-commerce
November 7
3:00 pm
 – 6:00 pm

E-commerce has reinvented the way goods are traded and improved consumers’ ability to shop goods internationally. According to the World Trade Report 2018, in 2016, the value of e-commerce transactions was estimated to be USD 27.7 trillion.

The proliferation of e-commerce has also posed numerous regulatory challenges such as difficulties to ensure compliance of online-purchased products (especially imported ones) with technical regulations, low effectiveness of traditional post-market surveillance approaches for such products, non-reporting of non-compliance or safety concerns and uncertain chain of liability in case of safety incidences. For some, the increased safety risks associated with products purchased online may call for a rethinking of the current regulatory approaches.

The session intends to explore the best practices for addressing challenges related to the conformity assessment (including post‑market surveillance) of goods obtained through e-commerce and how Members can ensure and enhance the safety of such goods.

Preliminary guiding questions:

  • How does e-commerce challenge traditional approaches to conformity assessment?
  • What are the best practices for addressing challenges related to conformity assessment of online-purchased goods, in particular when used for assessing whether such goods comply with safety requirements?
  • How can regulators enhance, in particular, post-market surveillance of online-purchased goods?
  • What opportunities exist for regulatory cooperation (among Members, with the private sector and society in general as well as with other international organizations) to enhance safety of online-purchased goods?
  • What role can international standards play in this area?