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 ebay.com 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 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
- United States (PDF)
- European Union (PDF)
- United Kingdom (PDF)
- France (PDF)
- Germany (PDF)
- Italy (PDF)
- Spain (PDF)
- World Economic Forum - Enabling Trade: Valuing Growth Opportunities
- McKinsey Global Institute - Global Flows in a digital age: How trade, finance, people, and data connect the world economy
- US International Trade Commission - Digital Trade in the US and Global Economies, Part 1
- Gallup - Majority in U.S. Still See Opportunity in Foreign Trade
- The President’s Export Council adopted a policy recommendation that the Administration seek to promote tech-enabled SME exporters.
- The US International Trade Commission has highlighted tech-enabled SME trade in “Part 1” and “Part 2” of its Digital Trade in the U.S. and Global Economies report.
- The Internet Association released a report and video highlighting the value of the Internet to SME trade.
- White House blog penned by eBay seller Nick Martin