Global Trade

At a Glance

The Internet has enabled small businesses to access global markets unlike ever before. As a result, the “face of trade” is evolving to be more inclusive.

Unfortunately, many trade policies across the globe were written before Internet-enabled trade. Pre-Internet trade policies need to be modernized to support small businesses that use the Internet to access the global marketplace.

  • Over 90% of eBay’s U.S. businesses trade across borders.
  • More than 80% of small businesses on eBay reach five or more markets.
  • eBay and the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce launched a strategic partnership in 2014 to promote small business exports.

Issue in Detail

For decades, global trade policies have been created with big businesses in mind because they were large enough to access global supply chains and markets. However, through the power of the Internet and mobile technology, small businesses are now able to reach beyond their local communities and access global markets. In fact, according to eBay‘s US Small Business Global Growth Report, over 90 percent of U.S. businesses using are trading across borders, and 80% of small businesses on eBay reach five or more markets. Comparatively, less than five percent of businesses using more traditional business models trade across borders, and 14% of offline small business traders reach five or more markets. The US Small Business Global Growth Report also found that small businesses that participate in the global market are healthier than their traditional counterparts. Export-oriented businesses on eBay saw a 91% increase in revenue growth over four years, compared to domestic-focused businesses, which saw a 58% increase..

Although technology empowers small businesses to overcome barriers to global trading, pre-Internet trade policies now create complications for small-scale traders.

Small Business Owners Discuss Exporting and Trade

eBay's Position

eBay believes that global trade rules should be modernized to ensure small businesses can participate in technology-enabled global commerce. eBay supports:

  • U.S. Congressional action to modernize trade laws and promote cross-border trade for retailers that use technology to serve global customers
  • eBay applauds the passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation to empower U.S. trade negotiators to influence trading partners to raise their low-value customs thresholds and give U.S. small business exporters greater market access.
  • eBay applauds the passage of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act and the Low-Value Shipment Regulatory Modernization Act, which would reduce customs complexity, particularly for low-value packages and retail returns. 

eBay's Trade Partnerships

In 2014, eBay and the U.S. Department of Commerce announced a partnership for U.S. trade and investment expansion. The partnership will focus on increasing awareness of the economic benefits of trade, specifically the important role that small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) can play in growing America’s export economy. eBay’s partnership with the Department of Commerce was introduced in a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce and eBay.

Timeline of Recent Developments in Trade

2015 Small Business Growth Reports

Outside Resources