Alan Elias (right) with Panel Moderator, Gonzalo Navarro, Executive Director of the Latin American Internet Association
This week Alan Elias of eBay’s Public Policy Lab participated in a panel discussion on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and trade at the Trade and Sustainable Development Symposium (TSDS) that coincided with the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Ministerial Conferencein Buenos Aires, Argentina. The panel, titled, “SMEs: The new Stakeholders of International Trade,” focused on how SMEs are using the Internet to export and success stories from companies and platforms. Representatives from Google, Increase, Workana, Olivia Premium, and AlphaBeta also appeared on the panel.
Alan framed the discussion for the panel by walking through the traditional model of trade dominated by large enterprises and the new online commerce platform model that has emerged and is enabling a new breed of enterprises: small, global, remote and independent. This “platform-based” model of trade, which eBay refers to as the Global Empowerment Network, combines the Internet, commerce platforms, payments platforms, and logistics platforms. Alan highlighted how the eBay Public Policy Lab’s in-depth research has revealed that nearly every MSME accessing the Global Empowerment Network via eBay is an exporter and they are exporting to numerous markets across multiple continents. They are also growing at rates that exceed national averages overall. This proves to be a more inclusive model because the trade and growth figures are similar for MSMEs across advanced and developing economies, and stands in stark contrast to traditional MSMEs, of which almost none are engaged in trade.
The biennial TSDS, organized by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and held alongside the WTO ministerial conference for over a decade, is the leading multi-stakeholder platform for intellectual enquiry and dialogue on sustainable development and the global trade and investment system. It acts as an inclusive platform outside of the WTO negotiating setting for sharing ideas, engaging in dialogue, and influencing trade policy negotiations. Drawing in participants from government, business and civil society, the Symposium helps to maintain and elaborate a global vision of sustainable development in trade and investment policymaking.
eBay is proud to represent our global sellers at these important trade conferences.