Electronic Commerce (e-commerce)

In the past 10 years, the number of Internet users worldwide has increased dramatically, from 1.0 billion to 3.2 billion. Modern communication tools give even small and medium-sized businesses a global reach. Digital products such as video games, music and videos are streamed directly to the consumer. Physical goods are ordered online and couriered. Electronic commerce is part of our daily lives.

Through the TPP, member countries have agreed to a set of rules that will facilitate economic growth and trade opportunities through the use of electronic commerce, as well as address the latest barriers to electronic trade. These rules include commitments not to apply duties to products transmitted electronically, to protect personal information, and to cooperate on important security issues in electronic communications. The TPP Electronic Commerce Chapter ensures that Canadian companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises, will be able to take advantage of expanding online commercial opportunities.

Technical Summary of Negotiated Outcomes: Electronic Commerce Chapter

  • Includes commitments to facilitate the use of electronic commerce as a means of trade.
  • Enhances the viability of the digital economy by ensuring that impediments to both consumers and businesses embracing this medium of trade are addressed.
  • Ensures that the Parties will not discriminate against or impose custom duties or other charges on online digital products. 
  • Includes provisions protecting the free flow of information across borders.
  • Prevents governments in TPP countries from requiring the use of local servers for data storage.
  • Prevents governments in TPP countries from demanding access to an enterprise’s software source code.
  • Includes commitments by the Parties to maintain measures to protect users from the unauthorized disclosure of their personal information, as well as from online fraudulent and deceptive commercial practices.
  • Includes commitments by the Parties to maintain measures to protect users from unsolicited commercial electronic messages, or spam, in order to build trust and confidence in the use of electronic commerce.

Bringing down virtual barriers

An entrepreneur has developed a proprietary system for electronic payments that protects both the consumer and vendor with every transaction. When he heard about the TPP, he knew it would help him expand his business into important Asian markets. He is pleased with the TPP’s dedicated Electronic Commerce Chapter, which will help establish an environment that is more conducive to the type of work he and his customers do. Of particular interest to this entrepreneur are provisions that enable the free flow of data across borders and prevent the Parties from requiring the local establishment of computing facilities. That means that not only can he sell his technology to online vendors in TPP markets right from his home in Canada, but there will be more demand for his technology as online vendors in TPP markets expand their own business to take advantage of the benefits of the TPP.