A WTO Ministerial Conference beckons and attention span is at a premium. So that officials don’t get the wrong end of the stick, responsible analysts must be careful when presenting evidence on highly-charged matters, such as renewing the moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions. Sadly, a 3 June 2022 paper put out by the South Centre fails to meet that test.
The study contends that in upholding the moratorium “[n]ot only are [developing countries] losing the fiscal space but are also losing their regulatory space as they are unable to regulate the growing imports of digitizable products”. Neither claim holds up. This note offers a corrective, lest timepressed diplomats be misled and set back the open trading system during these fraught times.