Multilateral Rules on E-Commerce for Commonwealth Small States

The Project at A Glance

E-commerce is expanding rapidly, particularly in Asia and Africa. For developing countries, global e-commerce has great potential for diversifying trade opportunities. However, e-commerce and trade in new digital technologies also pose challenges. What are the implications for Commonwealth Small States?
International Economics prepared an Analytical Paper for the Commonwealth Secretariat, on the “Implications of Potential Multilateral Rules on E-Commerce for Commonwealth Small States’ Development Objectives”.

What We Found

The exponential growth of e-commerce in the last decade is expected to grow in the coming years and the Paper aimed to better prepare Commonwealth Small States to understand the scope and breadth of potential e-commerce disciplines in a trade context, and the potential implications for the development trajectory of their economies. The team identified the key elements of the e-commerce discussion and potential multilateral rules, that would assist Commonwealth Small States governments to realise the opportunities and address the developmental challenges their digital firms face in participating in the digital economy. The implications of WTO discussions and proposals on e-commerce for Commonwealth Small States were also analysed.

Our Strategy and Impact

Despite the opportunities provided by e-commerce, there remains a digital divide which constitutes a constraint on the potential for the future growth of many small states. This is because the small states lack a critical mass of physical infrastructure to support dynamic e-commerce. To support the promotion of e-commerce, in addition to multilateral rules, domestic economic, trade, financial and legal policy frameworks must be drafted to tap the full potential of e-commerce. We recommended the need for collaborative policy efforts between government and private sector in designing the policy framework for e-commerce.

Our Core Solutions

Small island states can be the ones that comparatively benefit the most from e-commerce since their economic and geographic situations creates higher-than-usual trade barriers. It is therefore important for these countries to understand the scope and breadth of potential e-commerce disciplines, and the potential implications for the development trajectory of their economies. At International Economics, based on our extensive experience, we can assist governments and the private sector with solutions to create an enabling environment for e-commerce.

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