A new Regional Strategy to boost e-commerce will help Pacific businesses make the most of global online markets.
Endorsed by Pacific Islands Forum Trade Ministers, the Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap draws on input from almost 200 stakeholders. The Strategy focuses on digital trade activities that will benefit from a regional approach. These collective actions will complement the national work carried out by Forum Island Countries.
The Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap prioritises regional measures in seven policy areas including (1) National E-commerce Readiness and Strategy Formulation; (2) ICT Infrastructure and Services; (3) Trade Logistics and Trade Facilitation; (4) Legal and Institutional Framework; (5) Electronic Payment Solutions; (6) E-commerce Skill Development; and (7) Access to Finance for E-commerce.
In total, the Strategy identifies 54 Priority Measures, for a total cost of about USD 55 million – excluding the cost of infrastructure-related measures.
According to Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, Fiji’s Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, and Forum Trade Ministers Chair “the Strategy is the culmination of years of committed, serious and competent work, as there are things that we can only do better through collective action, in the spirit of Pacific regionalism. The Strategy will help Pacific countries tapping into the global E-commerce market, which is already valued at about USD 27 billion and keeps growing at an impressive speed”.
The Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy builds upon the findings of the diagnostic assessments conducted by the PIFS and the UNCTAD between 2017 and 2021 for eleven Forum Island Countries, with the latest such assessment concluded for Nauru in June 2021.
For each Priority Measure, the Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap identifies the most suitable implementing agencies. These include, among others, the International Communication Union (ITU), the International Trade Centre, the Oceania Customs Organisation, the Pacific Community, the Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society (PICISOC), the Pacific Islands Forum, Standards Australia, UNCTAD, the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCTRAL), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the Universal Postal Union (UPU), and the World Bank.
In the words of its Secretary General, Henry Puna, “COVID-19 is surely the defining challenge pf this decade, but it can also become the opportunity of our generation if we make the right moves together, including on E-commerce. The PIFS will coordinate this emerging regional partnership on E-commerce – it will provide high-quality support to its steering body, monitor implementation of the Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap, facilitate resource mobilisation, the onboarding of new valuable partners, and crucially, ensure that our members are always in the driving seat