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Promoting Electronic-Commerce to develop trade in the Pacific

The potential of electronic commerce (e-commerce) as a tool for increasing economic growth and development will be explored during the “Promoting E-Commerce in the Pacific –Recent Developments, Policies and Laws” workshop which begins in Nadi on Tuesday 20th June.

The Workshop will update participants from the region on recent developments in e-commerce and identify appropriate policies and laws that will promote the development of domestic and trans-border e-commerce in goods and services throughout the region. It also provides an opportunity for Pacific island countries to share their experiences and challenges with the tool and use them to develop recommendations that will see e-commerce working for their future development as well as that of the region.

The workshop is jointly organised by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

At the heart of the Pacific’s interest is the development dimension of e-commerce and building the necessary skills and capacity to take full advantage of digital trade in both goods and services. Given their smallness and isolation, e-commerce can be an important development tool for Pacific countries and one which can significantly contribute to the growth of SMEs in the region, to increase trade and contribute to economic growth and development. E-Commerce can also contribute to enhancing the region’s use of ICT, which was one of the priorities under the Framework of Pacific Regionalism endorsed by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in 2015.

Senior Representatives from Governments responsible for e-commerce, central banks, telecommunication regulators and the private sector from the 14 Forum Island Countries will be in attendance.  Speakers from public and private sector directly involved with e-commerce will be able to present their policies, laws and regulations as well as share their experiences and challenges in order to assist policy makers identify solutions to assist Pacific nations in taking advantage of E-Commerce and contribute further to developing Pacific economies. 

E-Commerce is transforming global trade and global economy, with the growth and advances in information and communication technology (ICT), it has significantly revolutionised the way business activities, governments, and individuals are interacting to create economic opportunities at an unprecedented level.  At the multilateral level, E-Commerce is currently being discussed in the context of the Doha Development Agenda of the WTO on whether new global rules should be developed and also pursued through the UNCTAD E-Trade for All initiative that aims at inclusive development in e-commerce. 

The WTO and UNCTAD recognise the influence of e-commerce on trade and small and medium enterprise (SMEs), and its growing contribution towards global economic growth, sustainable development and in improving living standards, especially in developing countries. Further, e-commerce is now widely embraced to become a powerful driver of economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation, provided that proper e-commerce strategies, policies, laws and regulations, appropriate infrastructures and financial resources are put in place to facilitate these undeniable benefits. 

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