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International trade News

Discussions on e-commerce and SMEs digitalisation in Geneva, during an event organised by the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

The Ministry for business environment, commerce and entrepreneurship in collaboration with the World Trade Organization (WTO) has organized on Thursday, the 16 March, 2019, in Geneva, an event dedicated to SMEs digitalization and e-commerce.

Minister’s Ștefan-Radu Oprea message was delivered by his adviser, Bogdan Mihăilescu: “Europe has local and regional champions in e-commerce, such as eMAG or Allegro, with potential of becoming global enterprises. WTO’s role becomes extremely important in the digital economy, being in a position to ensure a regulated, predictable, transparent and fair framework. These are essential elements for the development of regional companies, encouraging the foundation of start-ups with high innovative potential and in the development of global e-commerce”.

Present at the event, Gabriela Mihaela Voicilă, state secretary within the Ministry for business environment, commerce and entrepreneurship, said that SMEs integration in the global value chains represents a great potential for the development of the international trade and economy, digitalisation and e-commerce enhancing their role in the context of the fourth industrial revolution. “Rethinking of business models, consumer-producer relationships and the emergence of new entrepreneurial practices require the modernization of the multilateral trade system in accordance with the new realities of the 21st century”, added Gabriela Mihaela Voicilă.

On behalf of the World Trade Organization, Yi Xiaozhun, deputy director general of the WTO, conveyed his message during the opening of this workshop, event entitled SMEs digitalization and global e-commerce from a business perspective: impact on WTO.

The event, organized in the context of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, consisted of two panels which brought to the attention of the international community in Geneva the experiences of businesses and evolutions within international organizations regarding e-commerce and digitalisation, with the aim of assessing their impact on the multilateral trade system.

The first panel focused on SMEs digitalisation and digital skills needed to ensure their competitiveness at a global level, promoting entrepreneurship and innovation, while ensuring the contribution of SMEs to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The second panel, with representatives from the business community, OECD and WEF, focused on specific topics regarding e-commerce, with regards to the ongoing plurilateral negotiations within the WTO.

In the context of recent developments in the international trade, SMEs digitalisation and e-commerce have a strategic and defining role in the modernization of the multilateral trade system, under the WTO.

The workshop has contributed to a better understanding of the EU’s businesses specific interests in the WTO debates by underlining the SMEs contribution in EU’s member states economies and within the new economic paradigm characterized by a dynamic process of digitalisation. Moreover, it highlighted the need of exploring the benefits and added value of e-commerce and its place in the future of international trade.

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