Why trade facilitation matters – eBay presents at WTO

July 11, 2012

On July 10, eBay opened a two-day World Trade Organisation symposium in Geneva. Together with Imperial Logistics and COMESA, Hanne Melin addressed a full auditorium, most of the 155 WTO members represented, on the topic “Why trade facilitation is important”.

Melin explained how eBay uses technology to open up market access to consumers and merchants of all sizes. A recent study commissioned by eBay shows that barriers to international trade are 60 percent lower on the eBay platform. This allows small traders to export to multiple markets, which is a force for growing their operations faster and steadier. However, the study also shows that shipping costs hit eBay trade more than offline trade - in fact, 40 percent more.

This is a reminder that even though eBay can connect buyers and sellers, help them establish trust in each other, and transact and pay on a global scale; at the end of the day physical goods must be shipped, cleared by customs and delivered. Melin made the point that the more technology makes commerce inclusive to the benefit of consumers and small traders, the more trade facilitation measures that target the smaller, less experienced yet trustworthy traders matter.

eBay’s participation in this symposium is part of our campaign to spread the Commerce 3.0 message.