Virtual Workshop Proceedings Report: Regulatory Framework for e-Commerce Development in CAREC

Jul 2020; CAREC Institute

This workshop proceedings report summarizes discussions which took place on 28 May 2020 in a virtual workshop on regulatory framework for e-commerce development in CAREC, co-organized by the CAREC Institute and the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) in collaboration with the Asia-Pacific Finance and Development Institute (AFDI).

It provides details on the milestones accomplished in development of global models for laws on cybercrime, privacy, consumer protection, etc. and how governing these areas effectively requires resources and administrative mechanisms that are not equal among all states. Examples are provided how e-commerce helped reduce inequality in Asia and helped SMEs survive the COVID-19 crisis. However, Asia remains underserved and not evenly served by e-commerce, so there is a lot of potential for its expansion.

There are examples of the Chinese experience with Alipay and WeChat, their flexibility and customer orientation; “3-1-0” system of Alipay (where an online application for credit could be made in 3 minutes, approved in 1 second with no live human intervention); QR code payment innovation for street vendors; how the PRC overcame three challenges in e-commerce development: lack of infrastructure, lack of finance, and lack of knowledge; how collaborative laws helped respond to consumer concerns about data privacy; and how Chinese firms responded to supply chain disruptions during COVID-19 lockdowns.

The workshop proceedings report concludes with the premise that policy options for e-commerce development shall have three characteristics: 1) economic, legal, and cultural facets should work together flexibly; 2) e-commerce shall be part of an ecosystem involving all stakeholders, including the private sector, with appropriate regulation, and open enough to competition to admit new market participants; and 3) e-commerce shall be the product of regional cooperation where standards and laws are harmonized.

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