Announced during the WTO’s 11th Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, the Enabling E-commerce Initiative aims to bring together governments, businesses and other stakeholders to begin a high-level conversation on ecommerce that can benefit small businesses.
The WTO and the Forum said that online trade could help to bring micro, small and medium-sized enterprises into the larger global economy where currently there are high barriers-to-entry for smaller businesses. To get there a programme like Enabling E-commerce was necessary so that stakeholders could better understand and facilitate the practice in their respective areas.
In 2016 Alibaba Group began taking steps to create eWTP to make it easier for small businesses to participate in cross-border trade. It was envisioned as an open, international organization of relevant stakeholders that would serve as a complement to the WTO, with the goal of developing best practices to simplify regulations, lower barriers to entry to new markets and provide small businesses with more accessible financing.
The idea was also endorsed by the G20 summit as a business-led, government-supported initiative when it included the eWTP in its official communiqué.
With the start of Enabling E-commerce, the eWTP’s mission gains greater recognition, new partners and, potentially, participation in and valuable input from a much larger international audience.
The initiative will start its work early in 2018, with a high-level meeting at the WEF’s annual gathering in Davos in January. Other events will follow, including a major event in Geneva later in the year.