GTPA Offers Insight on Achieving E-Commerce, Mobile Payments Success

January 30, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

When asking those often rhetorical questions about what makes an economy great, there are likely a lot of different points that come to mind. Quality products, a reputation for quality after-sales service, accessibility and more likely make the list. Yet for the Global Trade Professionals Alliance (GTPA), who sent word our way about its recent remarks, the real key to success is transparency in e-commerce, and a focus on rules-based operations.

The GTPA noted that technological advancements mean opportunities for expansion into global markets, and with good reason. The problem, however, is that these same systems also create the potential for exclusion, especially among those already having a problem getting in on traditional trade mechanisms.

So there’s a potential for inequity among those trades, which puts some at a disadvantage immediately. Worse, many of these populations may not even know what disruption is happening, and are thus unable to even try to take advantage of it until it’s too late.

Thus, the GTPA is increasingly behind what it calls “basic standards for digital trade.” Such basic standards include rules around consumer protection as well as electronic contracts. Yet even the GTPA here realizes that this may be easier said than done, noting that “…there are concerns from consumers and civil society organizations” about the entire matter.

The GTPA therefore also believes that the needs of consumers, importers, and exporters—along with those who “facilitate e-commerce and digital services trade”—must be included as part of any future frameworks.

This is a good standard to follow, but there’s an immediate problem; the initiative designed to bring more of a framework to e-commerce only includes about half of the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s total membership. That means that even if a framework is established, it will only be in place for about half of the WTO. Moreover, the WTO only accounts for 164 members, and there are 195 countries on the planet. This leaves even more countries potentially out of the loop.

We’ve seen e-commerce and mobile payments come a long way in a comparatively little time. That we’re still considering expansion and change is important to the overall health of the market, but there’s still a long way to go.