Torbjörn Fredriksson, Officer in Charge Science, Technology and ICT Branch UNCTAD
The rapid growth of e-commerce is facilitating more inclusive trade. Increased connectivity helps reduce the disadvantage of distance, thus trade costs. Online trading is increasingly vital for both large and small firms, especially for organizing their production and distribution through global supply chains. For small and medium-sized enterprises, e‑commerce brings new inclusion opportunities as it opens the way to connect to world markets. In addition to expanded services being transacted, e-commerce often results in the delivery of goods. Trade facilitation could be beneficial. In 2015, UNCTAD estimated that the value of B2B e-commerce would amount to more than $15 trillion and B2C e‑commerce to more than $1 trillion, and rising fast. However, there appears to be a lack of authoritative information on e-commerce within international trade.
Against this background, the Secretariats of UNCTAD, UPU and WTO organize this session with a focus on business to business (B2B) e-commerce and its contribution to international trade flows. While discussing how firms can use and benefit from e-commerce when trading in the global market place, questions that will be addressed include what exactly is B2B e-commerce, what is required for more enterprises and countries to engage in such transactions, how it can help to increase a firm's competitiveness and what measurement frameworks may exist for ongoing monitoring.