Business / Economy

Electronic World Trade Platform is key proposal to G20

By ZHONG NAN (China Daily) Updated: 2016-08-11 08:44

A way to help develop a multilateral trading system, promote green financing and build a global e-commerce platform-a proposed electronic world trade platform, or eWTP-is the main initiative of a policy advice report going to the G20 summit to be held in Hangzhou next month, said China's B20's chief representative on Wednesday.

After the earlier B20 meetings, involving a group of companies advising the G20, the policy report was completed that will now be discussed by the G20 leaders, said Yu Ping.

Yu is China's B20 sherpa, a post defined as the representative of the government at the international summit. All of the G20 participating states have representative sherpas.

"With a strong economic foundation and political influence, G20 countries are capable of reaching more major breakthroughs in terms of reducing trade protectionism," Yu said.

He said members are also capable of making progress toward signing the World Trade Organization's trade facilitation agreement as early as possible and encouraging G20 countries to demonstrate a strong leadership in the process, amid the current global business settings.

Concluded at a WTO conference in Bali in 2013, the facilitation agreement aims at easing customs procedures internationally to boost commerce. Countries have since been signing up to it and India formally ratified it in April this year, becoming the 76th WTO member to accept the TFA.

G20 states represent over 80 percent of the world's total economic output.

The B20 summit this year had six issues on its agenda: financing growth, trade and investment, infrastructure, small and medium-sized enterprise development, employment and anti-corruption.

Among the priorities set out in the report, was the construction of an eWTP, a global alliance for infrastructure development, as well as promoting sustainable innovation.

The next step for the B20 will be to introduce the report's content to different foreign governments, international trade and commerce chambers and academic institutes. It will then provide the policy recommendations to the G20 Summit next month, contributing to the G20 leaders' decisions.

A spokesman for the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Feng Yaoxiang, said the B20 members also reached consensus on helping SMEs to integrate into the global economy through a global trade electronic platform, multi-channel financing and improvements to the regulatory environment.

Economists said the proposed e-platform could provide a key role in future global growth.

"As e-commerce and e-trade become the key enablers of global economic growth, as well as helping SMEs to find more market growth points, the key goal of eWTP is to improve 'inclusive' trade," said Wang Tongsan, an economist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the government's think tank.

He said improving inclusive trade referred to reducing barriers faced by SMEs to their participation in cross-border e-trade.

"It is not just trading out of China or trading into China, it is about being capable of doing trade anywhere in the world," Wang said.

Mu Sai contributed to this story.

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