• PNG Business News

Officials Attend E-Commerce Workshop

More than 100 officials - trade officials, regional agencies and other international organizations - across the Pacific nations attended a virtual E-commerce regional workshop.

This workshop, which was part of the E-commerce initiative, talked about the importance of E-commerce and its benefits to the economies. The workshop also explored the state-of-play of E-commerce, one the five priorities of the Pacific Aid-for-Trade Strategy (PAfTS), and evaluated the digital trade readiness, in different industries such as regulatory environment and access policy, ITC infrastructure and skills, digital payment systems, and the access to finance for e-commerce ventures.

This workshop also enabled trade officials across the region to look for the findings of a Pacific E-commerce assessment, and a sub-regional assessment for the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). These conversations feed into a Pacific E-Commerce Strategy which aims to uplift engagement in digital trade.

In her opening speech, Dame Meg Taylor, Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General said, “There is immense potential for e-commerce to help the Pacific region overcome its structural challenges. It is also crucial to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and shape post-COVID recovery.”

She added, “Governments must tackle crucial constraints in areas such as trade and ICT infrastructure, digital skills, regulations, access to formal financial services and digital payment systems.”

George Hoa’au, MSG Secretariat’s Acting Director General said, “The current times and what it poses for face-to-face businesses and goods transactions, makes it all the more relevant for supporting e-commerce as a business model for individuals and businesses in the Pacific region. Against such a trend, I am confident that the future of E-commerce in the Pacific region is bright. It will make an immense contribution to unlock opportunities available through the Melanesian Free Trade Agreement for businesses, and exporters in the MSG economies.”

The workshop, however, doesn’t end there. Post-consultations on the E-commerce strategies will still be conducted, on validation on a draft Strategy and Roadmap for implementation for 2021.

The Pacific and MSG E-commerce Assessments were also based on evidence, which includes ten national E-commerce Assessments developed by a Pacific nations in a global partnership with the following agencies: the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Australian Department of Foreign affairs and Trade (DFAT), the European Union (EU) TradeCoM II facility, the PIFS, the MSG Secretariat, and the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF),

The European Union (EU) TradeCom II programme supported the joint MSG Secretariat and Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat event.

Worldwide e-commerce sales increased by 18% this year and are expected to double by 2023. With the world transitioning to e-commerce, this industry has grown steadily during the past few months as quarantine measures started.

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