E-Commerce Website: New International Trade Commission Launched
The UK's e-commerce market is the world's fourth largest after China, the USA and Japan. Within Europe, it is by far the largest at twice the size of France, its nearest competitor. The results of recent studies by the Social Market Foundation have shown that, by improving and enhancing their e-commerce strategies and capabilities, as many as 70,000 small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK could be exporting goods on a global scale, representing a potential boost to the UK's economy of £9.3bn annually.
The Social Market Foundation's report revealed that e-commerce exports from retail businesses selling online generated average annual reviews of £100,000. For companies with ten or more employees, this average figure rose sharply to nearly £950,000. The report concluded with a recommendation to establish a new e-commerce trade commission to 'directly advise the government on how to encourage UK SMEs to trade internationally online'.
The E-Commerce Trade Commission was formally established on June 13th by the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT). Led by experts from across the industry and with a mandate spanning over two years, the stated aim of the new commission is to 'help UK small businesses – which form the backbone of the British economy – to take advantage of e-commerce trade opportunities'.
The E-Commerce Trade Commission comprises board members representing a diverse array of industries and organisations including major e-commerce platforms like eBay, Amazon, Shopify and Alibaba. There are also members representing the Association of International Courier & Express Services, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Federation of Small Businesses. In addition, representatives from the UK government's Department for Business and Trade (DBT) will allow policy ideas to be 'fed straight into the heart of government.'
During its two-year mandate, the new E-Commerce Trade Commission will work towards achieving numerous objectives, including addressing problems related to current trade barriers and helping SMEs to take advantage of new trade agreements, recommending policies to the DBT that will incentivise digital trading to SMEs and simplfying pathways to e-commerce. Through case studies, detailed reports, educational content and campaign events, the commission aims to have reached 70,000 SMEs by April of 2025, helping them to improve their understanding and knowledge of the global e-commerce landscape.
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