A Learning Opportunity to Facilitate Trade Relations - The Development Dimension of Cross-Border e-Commerce: Nourishing an Emerging Opportunity in CAREC

Event | 22 - 23 October 2015
Wuhan, People's Republic of China

Purpose

This event will provide a platform for policymakers from Central Asia to better understand e-commerce trends globally and regionally, the role that an e-commerce enabled environment plays in trade and business, and the impact of e-commerce to countries in terms of benefits and risks. It also aims to bring together key stakeholders from governments, the private sector, and international organizations to discuss issues related to the digital economy and e-commerce and their implications on development.

Background

One major development in the global economy over the last decade has been the phenomenal growth of electronic commerce or the sale and purchase of goods and services through electronic networks and the internet. UNCTAD estimated that global e-commerce sales amounted to US$16.1 trillion in 2013, comprising of business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions. There are many factors that contributed to the growth in e-commerce such as changes in information technology and connectivity, sophisticated changes in business models, and a supportive regulatory and legal environment in many countries. As a result e-commerce has affected the global economy in many different ways. Aside from facilitating the growth of trade and financial transactions, e-commerce presents many opportunities for countries to enhance their participation in global value chains, improve market efficiency and productivity, and promote economic development.

Although the bulk of e-commerce transactions are found in developed markets (particularly in the United States, United Kingdom, Northern Ireland and Japan), developing countries have started to catch up recently, led by those in Asia. Many Asian countries have become important buyers and sellers of goods and services online. For example, PRC is now the largest e-commerce (B2C) market in the world surpassing the US. PRC’s Alibaba Group has grown by 120% since 2013 and employs 24,000 workers. Aside from PRC, Indonesia and India are also expected to grow at a fast rate in this market segment. As a result the combined share of Asia (and Oceana) in the B2C global market is projected to further increase from 28% in 2013 to 37% in 2018.

Despite the vast opportunities presented by the digital economy, Asia, due to many challenges, is yet to fully realize its potential to harness e-commerce for sustainable development. In addition to the absence of legislation to support cross-border e-commerce, developing countries in Asia face barriers related to poor ICT infrastructure, trade facilitation and logistics, e-payments, and an inadequate development of the necessary skills. National strategies to understand the underpinnings of e-commerce are also lacking in many countries. For example, there is a need to increase awareness of e-commerce and its benefits, and more concerted efforts on the part of policymakers are needed leading to a comprehensive review of priorities with regard to e-commerce, as well as the ability to institute profound policy and structural reforms with broader stakeholder participation.

Objectives

The event serves as a learning opportunity to promote trade facilitation in CAREC countries, particularly the role of e-commerce in enhancing connectivity and economic development in the region.

Participants

Around 30 officials from ministries of trade, communications, transportation and other relevant agencies representing 10 CAREC countries (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, People’s Republic of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan), who are directly involved in formulating development policies and strategies.

Participant responsibilities

Participants are expected to attend and actively participate in all sessions.

Output

  • Better awareness and enhanced capacity of Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) countries in understanding the various aspects of e-commerce, particularly its role in trade facilitation and economic development in the region.
  • Enhanced dialogue and networking among government agencies, international organizations and the private sector on key issues related to the opportunities, challenges and development dimension of cross-border e-commerce.
  • Promotion of good governance and innovative policies on relevant aspects of e-commerce, particularly policies that address infrastructure and connectivity, payments systems, logistics and trade facilitation, and enabling a regulatory and legal environment.
  • Country reports and presentation materials on the digital economy and its role in promoting economic development.

How to register

By invitation only.

Language

English

Partners

East Asia Regional Department, ADB and China International Electronic Commerce Center (CIECC)

Time of event

Day 1: 8:30 - 20:00
Day 2: 9:00 - 16:30