A new index published Monday by The Economist
Intelligence Unit shows that islands states can dominate global e-trade, with
Australia, UK and Japan all in the top 5.
The G20 e-Trade Readiness Index, sponsored by eBay, points to the strength of
the UK’s international trading environment. It also has high usage of e-payments
systems and social media, much higher than its European neighbours, which bodes
well for e-trade digital marketing.
Developed island nations have economies that have long relied on international
trade, the report says, and look well-positioned to continue this with e-trade
The report also warns that custom and regulation restrictions could hamper SME
growth. SMEs tend to ship smaller parcels to a variety of locations and cannot
always benefit from shipping in bulk. Customs procedures in some countries can
also be more trouble than they are worth for small packages.
Laurel West, editor of the report, said: “It’s clear that technology alone is
not enough to allow e-trade to reach its full potential. Customs regimes across
the globe are still aligned with the needs of big businesses and hampering SMEs.
e-Trade is a ripe opportunity for SMEs to compete with multinationals. They can
be a key driver in its growth, but bureaucracy could be their biggest barrier.”
The index comprises more than 40 indicators
across five thematic categories: investment climate, Internet environment,
international trading environment, regulatory and legal framework, and the
environment for e-payments. The categories within the index are weighted
according to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s assumptions of their relative
importance in facilitating cross-border trade using the Internet, especially for
small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The index focuses on the G20, though
for the purposes of this research we have excluded the EU as a separate entity
in the rankings, hence only 19 countries are ranked. In addition to analysis of
the index findings, this report is based on wide-ranging desk research and
interviews with experts on the challenges and opportunities in cross-border
The G20 represents about 90% of
global gross national product, 80% of
world trade (including trade within the European Union) as well as two-thirds of
the world's population, according
to the IMF
Measured by purchasing power, Asia
accounts for more than 35% of
world GDP, compared with the US and the EU at 20% each.
The G20 comprises Argentina, Australia,
Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico,
Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK and the US, plus
the European Union, represented by the rotating Council presidency and the
European Central Bank. The managing director of the International Monetary Fund
and the president of the World Bank, plus the chairs of the International
Monetary and Financial Committee and Development Committee of the IMF and World
Bank, also participate at G20 meetings.