India’s self-defeating stand on e-commerce
India has taken an unfavourable stance on liberalizing e-commerce at the WTO, which may not help in making its SMEs competitive
India’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs), struggling to survive in the aftermath of demonetization and the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST), seem now to face the threat of global competition through e-commerce platforms. In the recently concluded eleventh ministerial conference (MC11) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) held in Buenos Aires, developed countries sought to negotiate new global e-commerce rules which could liberalize e-commerce and benefit SMEs. India, however, has taken an unfavourable stance. It has cited unfair market access to foreign companies in the currently ‘asymmetrical’ e-commerce space, with its power to hurt domestic e-commerce platforms, as well as SMEs, as the logic for such a stance. Such a stance, however, may not be in its own interests.