Australia has emerged on top of a survey of e-Trade readiness, attributed to affordable internet access, well developed regulatory framework, high smartphone penetration and e-payments adoption.
Ahead of the G20 trade ministers meeting in Sydney this week, eBay and the Economist Intelligence Unit have released a G20 e-Trade Readiness Index, a report that looks at how prepared G20 countries are to capitalise on global e-trade opportunities.
E-trade readiness refers to the extent to which countries create an environment to support ICT-enabled commerce across borders through investment climate, internet environment, international trading environment, regulatory and legal framework, and e-payments.
Economies that have long relied on international trade, including Australia, UK and Japan made it into the top five countries.
“The rise of Internet access during the past two decades is transforming global trade dynamics,” the report says.
“Today firms of all sizes can take advantage of information and communications technologies (ICT) to conduct trade across international borders.
“But Internet access and entrepreneurial spirit are only two parts of the equation. For trade to flourish there must also be a favourable policy and regulatory environment.”
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The report warns that customs and regulatory restrictions could hamper SMEs’ ability to grow through e-trade. SMEs tend to ship smaller parcels to a variety of locations and cannot always benefit from shipping in bulk. Customs procedures in some countries can also be more trouble than they are worth for small packages.
Tod Cohen, vice president of Global Government Relations and Deputy General Counsel at eBay, is visiting Sydney this week to meet with the B20 taskforce in support of its recommendations to reduce barriers to facilitate further trade.
“It is now more important than ever that we create a global environment that enables all businesses to reap the benefits of an interconnected world, with cross-border online shopping in Australia expected to increase 300% in five years,” Cohen says.
“However, the EIU index reinforces the need for business to work with industry, government and regulators to reduce barriers limiting the growth of cross border trade.”