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eBay report to the World Trade Organisation: Making global trade frictionless

May 3, 2013

In September 2012, Nick Staheyeff joined WTO Director General Pascal Lamy for the opening of the WTO 2012 Public Forum. “The world is changing, technology reduces the cost of distance, on eBay there's no distance,” said Lamy, adding that the WTO needs to become “more aware of where we are behind.” Nick offered to share with Pascal Lamy a list of trade frictions that could become targets for WTO action. We have now submitted this list in the form of a comprehensive report.

Here is Nick’s introduction:

“In September last year, I had the opportunity to talk to the World Trade Organisation at the 2012 Public Forum. This was a chance for me to present eBay’s vision of connected world commerce and share insights from economic research we have commissioned. Our research confirms the very belief eBay is founded upon: there is tremendous potential for economic growth where technology enables trade to take place across borders.

However, this potential is not yet fully utilized. We learn from talking to sellers using the eBay marketplace that most of them want to reach and transact with customers across borders. But we also hear about practical, administrative and legal concerns that hold them back.

So while I could share with the WTO a very optimistic outlook of a world where businesses of all sizes and countries at all stages of development are able to participate in the global economy, it was also my task to highlight the urgency of simplifying trade practices. To that end, I promised Director-General Pascal Lamy a list of the key trade barriers that web-enabled businesses face.

This report is that list and a bit more. You find a description of the key frictions that exist in today’s global trade as well as our suggestions on what could be done to reduce those frictions. You find tables and graphs presenting the results of economic research and surveys. And you find case studies as illustration.

The report reiterates eBay’s commitment to work with the WTO to make global trade frictionless. Let’s together empower people and businesses to connect.”