The E-Commerce Brazil Group recently released the information that 75 countries, including the United States, China, Brazil and the entire European Union, have begun negotiations on global e-commerce regulation.
Given the enormous variation in social/economic development of the countries involved, the group undertook to consider the opportunities and challenges of each region, especially given the reality of the underdeveloped and developing countries taking part in the discussion.
The first rounds of negotiations are due to begin later this month, based on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreements and regulations in force. Among the proposals are:
• ensuring the validity of contracts and digital signatures; • improving consumer confidence in the online environment and combatting spam; • doing away with barriers that hinder cross-border trade; • permanently banning import tariffs for electronic transmissions; and • regulating the handling of personal data and mandatory disclosure of source code.
Broadly speaking, the aim of the negotiations is to facilitate access for consumers and companies, especially the smallest, to the digital commerce environment, which is intended to be made safer by adopting multilateral international legislation.
On a local perspective, however, Brazilian legislation rules about the contracting through electronic means since 2013 (Decree 7,962/2013). This fact makes the question about how Brazilian legislation will adapt in view of global regulation inevitable.
The questioning arises in the face of a possible conflict that may come into being between the national and international norms, depending on how Brazil will comply internally with international legislation. Without doubt, compatibility between the two norms will be a legislative challenge for our country.
Regardless of our internal challenges, unification of the rules on e-commerce tends to be positive, especially considering the still uncertain legal landscape for topics such as blockchain and smart contracts, while in the context of the recently approved General Data Protection Law (LGPD) in Brazil.
What remains now is to follow the course of international negotiations carefully, since a possible, albeit initial, solution to adapt to global e-commerce practices is the creation of universal parameters for the online environment – increasingly present in all fields of modern life – which is cross-border by nature.