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Jack Ma dreams of barrier-free global e-commerce
29
Mar '16
Courtesy: Alizila.com
Courtesy: Alizila.com
Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma wants to knock down barriers to global e-commerce by creating a business-driven, Internet-based platform that will function something like the World Trade Organization - but without all the controversy, according to news website Alizila which focuses on the e-commerce industry and Alibaba Group,

At the Boao Forum for Asia, the founder of the world's largest e-commerce company called for the establishment of “a new platform on which we are not debating, not having disputes, we are sharing trade.”

“On this platform we are promoting technologies as well as inclusive financing, so all [small businesses] and young people can enjoy the benefits of trade, so we are connecting the world with trade.”
Ma's ultimate goal is the creation of a virtual, borderless economy not constrained by politics. He calls the vehicle for achieving this, the World e-Trade Platform, or eWTP. As envisioned, the eWTP would be set up primarily to formulate international rules to eliminate barriers to e-commerce and help small businesses and consumers everywhere participate in cross-border trade. The online platform would be open to a wide range of stakeholders including SMEs and would not be dominated by governments and multinational corporations.

At the Boao forum - a business, government and academic leadership conference held annually on China's Hainan Island - Ma said the WTO, which promotes free trade through lower tariffs and other trade barriers, “did a great job” in the last century in fostering a more global economy. China in particular after it joined the WTO in 2001, experienced tremendous economic growth, he noted.

But globalization's benefits have accrued unevenly and the WTO's current rulemaking round, called the Doha Development Round, has been stalled for the last 15 years, largely over differences between developed and developing nations, Ma pointed out.

The eWTP's purpose is to help “the 80 per cent of companies and developing countries that cannot participate in world trade,” he said, adding, “It is not the purpose of the eWTP to destroy the WTO, but to try to destroy trade protectionism.”

Ma stressed that he saw the proposed body as “complementary to the WTO … [so that] more nations that are poor like China was 15 years ago, let them enjoy the trade.”

“Let's make trade simpler, let's take out some of the rules and laws that are not working, to move trade faster,” Ma said. “Let businesses drive it with governments and NGOs and other organizations participating.”

During a Boao panel discussion focusing on Ma's eWTO proposal, Indonesia Trade Minister Thomas Lembong and Luis Alberto Moreno, president of the Inter-American Development Bank, expressed support for the initiative.

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