What do policymakers in Central Asia & Eastern Europe need to know about the challenges and opportunities arising from the Covid-19 induced overnight digitization of work, and the WTO negotiations creating new international trade rules for e-commerce?
The Covid-19 pandemic forced firms to rapidly adapt to new ways of working, with millions around the world learning and embracing new digital technologies offered an alternative channel for maintaining business activities, social interactions and consumption in times of strict lockdowns.
While the COVID-19 crisis has enhanced dynamism in e-commerce, it also exposed pre-existing challenges faced by aspiring e-commerce entrepreneurs. These include regulatory differences such as access to online payment solutions, reliable internet and electricity connections, the prohibitive costs of trading across borders, visibility in online searches and advertising and sales platforms.
The pandemic has also stressed the crucial importance bridging the digital divide both within and across countries. Furthermore, COVID-19 exposed the need to address questions about the extent to which small producers, sellers and consumers in developing countries and economies in transition can benefit from the opportunities that e-commerce provides. All of this is happening against the backdrop of ongoing e-commerce negotiations at the WTO.
This webinar will explore recent COVID-19-induced trends in e-commerce and outline challenges and opportunities for transition economies in the UNECE region, i.e. Central Asia, Southern Caucasus, Western Balkan and Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation. Discussions will look at the WTO e-commerce negotiations and the way forward for harnessing e-commerce post-COVID-19.
The session will bring together speakers from international organizations, academia/think tanks and national/regional agencies. Simultaneous translation English-Russian aims at providing access to information to transition economy policy makers.
Scheduled speakers will include:
Mr Vitaliy Pogoretskyy, Counsel, Advisory Centre on WTO Law: WTO negotiations on e-commerce: overview and take-aways for developing economies
Ms Hadil Hijazi, Director, WTI Advisors Ltd. (Oxford/Geneva): Recent e-commerce trends across UNECE’s transition economies
Q&A and commentators:
Mr Torbjörn Fredriksson, Chief of the ICT Policy Section, Division on Technology and Logistics, UNCTAD
Mr Maxim Medvedkov, Head, Department of Trade Policy, Higher School of Economics, Moscow