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By
Fibre2Fashion
Published
Jul 7, 2016
Reading time
2 minutes
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‘E-com can stimulate growth in developing countries’

By
Fibre2Fashion
Published
Jul 7, 2016

E-commerce can play a pivotal role in fostering growth and raising living standards, particularly for developing countries, World Trade Organization (WTO) director-general Roberto Azevêdo has said.


WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo - Fibre2Fashion


“Electronic commerce provides some huge opportunities — for growth, development and job creation. Therefore, I think it is equally clear that the international community should strive to ensure that these opportunities are made available to all,” Azevêdo said at a workshop organised by the governments of MIKTA countries — Mexico, Indonesia, Korea, Turkey and Australia.

The ‘MIKTA Workshop on Electronic Commerce’, held at WTO, focused on addressing the challenges that inhibit consumers and entrepreneurs from fully seizing the trade opportunities that e-commerce can bring.

“By reducing the trade costs associated with physical distance, e-commerce allows businesses to access the global marketplace, reach a broader network of buyers and participate in international trade. Broader dissemination of such technologies means that the trade opportunities generated by e-commerce are also available to businesses in developing countries, with some of them making significant headway in recent years,” Azevêdo said.

Among the obstacles developing countries face in fully participating in e-commerce are high digital infrastructure costs, lack of compliance with legal and fiscal requirements of foreign e-markets, underdeveloped financial and payment systems and low consumer trust.

The workshop also looked at the constraints faced by micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in developing countries, which often “do not have the ability to get around these problems”, Azevêdo said. Africa and the Middle-East share less than 2 per cent of the world e-commerce market, the workshop heard.

Participants also discussed the role the WTO can play in lowering these barriers, through the development of multilateral rules to harmonise procedures and reduce operational costs. “We could look at how we can support small suppliers to market their products in a timely fashion, with competitive prices and reliable customer support,” Azevêdo said. “This would help consumers to have full confidence in buying from MSMEs in the digital environment.”

 

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