Two-decade global moratorium on digital tariffs could end over concerns from India and South Africa


The two countries are considering voting against a World Trade Organization vote scheduled for next week to extend a 20-year moratorium on “electronic transmissions” tariffs, which prevents the imposition of duties on things like software and downloads. (Reuters)

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Talking point: Canada is part of a coalition of 21 countries seeking to extend the ban for at least another six months. The U.S., home of many of the largest tech firms, is a major proponent of the moratorium. The amount of support may not matter, though, since the vote to extend needs to be unanimous. If the moratorium ends, countries could start introducing tariffs. Some countries are ready to go: Indonesia created tariff codes for digital goods in 2018, but left the level at zero per cent, which it could easily increase. There’s a growing movement to tax digital services. The OECD is working on a global framework for such a tax. The federal Liberals campaigned on a three per cent levy this fall. France implemented a similar one in July.