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UNECE trade facilitation and e-business standards ready to support China‘s e-commerce development

E-commerce has become a game changer in the international trade arena. Cross-border e-commerce is estimated to reach 1 trillion US dollars in 2020; for the top 10 e-commerce markets, it accounts for 34% of the gross domestic product.

Cross-border e-commerce trade has flourished in China in recent years. Data from the General Administration of Customs of China showed that China's e-commerce exports surged 41.3 per cent to 33.65 billion yuan (5.3 billion US dollars) in 2017, while imports increased 116.4 per cent to 56.59 billion yuan. Yet, cross-border e-commerce brings new challenges, such as efficiency of clearance and delivery of low value and small parcels. 

The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and e-Business (UN/CEFACT) assists relevant stakeholders to define the best approach to meet these challenges, especially from a trade facilitation perspective.

The way UN/CEFACT standards can help promote cross border e-commerce and traceability was discussed at the 2nd Global Cross-border E-commerce Conference, ‘Cross-Border e-commerce empowering the innovation development of global trade’, held from 10 to 11 May 2018 in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, China.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Ivonne Higuero, Director of the UNECE Economic Cooperation and Trade Division, said, ¨E-commerce will bring many opportunities to develop international trade in a fair and equitable way, especially for micro, small, and medium sized enterprises, which face many obstacles and challenges as they participate in international trade”.

She also recalled that UN/CEFACT is an internationally recognised platform to share ideas, experiences and expertise for the development of standards on trade facilitation and e-business for use at the global level, and welcomed Chinese experts and entities to participate in UN/CEFACT projects and activities.

Participants to the conference were provided evidence on how UNECE and UN/CEFACT projects keep abreast of new technologies, such as blockchain, Internet of Things and e-commerce platforms, through the preparation of White Papers, aided by more than 500 volunteer experts from the public and private sectors.

Some 1,600 representatives from governments, national government departments, customs, international organizations, e-commerce enterprises, and academia attended the conference, which was sponsored by the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Commerce, the China International Electronic Commerce Centre, the Henan Provincial Commerce Department and the People’s Government of Zhengzhou.

High-level officials of local and the national government included the Vice Governor of Henan Province, the Deputy Secretary of Henan Province, representatives of the Department of Commerce of Henan Province and the China Inspection and Certification Group, and the Deputy Director of the China National Institute of Standardization.

At the Conference, the 'China-Henan Cross-border E-Commerce Retail Development Blue Book ' was launched by EWTO Institute with a comprehensive analysis of new features of Cross-border E-Commerce for Henan Province.