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National E-commerce strategy launched

Published: 
Thursday, December 7, 2017

NADALEEN SINGH

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Government wants to boost online trading by the business community and is expected to introduce an e-commerce platform once the legislative framework is in place.

Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said already there are businesses which are using online solutions such as social media and e-banking services to either start or to grow their businesses.

Gopee-scoon spoke yesterday at the launch the National e-Commerce Strategy 2017-2021 held at the ministry's Level 17, Nicholas Tower office in Port-of-Spain

She said doing business online encouraged cost savings, increased efficiency and could assist manufacturers and service providers in offering niche products and services to local and global markets which they might have had difficulty in accessing otherwise.

The strategy which the Government plans to adopt she said, is to use agencies such as ExporTT and the Eximbank to promote e-Commerce and encourage domestic firms to use the internet as a platform to sell their goods and services.

In tandem with the framework for e-Commerce the Government plans to monitor the growth of businesses doing business online.

"The Ministry of Trade will also collaborate with the private sector via the various Chambers of Commerce and the e-Business roundtable to track the growth of e-commerce locally, by conducting an annual survey on the number of businesses with an online presence and actively engaging in e-commerce."

Before the strategy is enforced, the legislative framework has to be in place, and as such, Gopee-Scoon confirmed that the specific pieces of legislation to operationalize the strategy is engaging the attention of AG Faris Al-Rawi.

The legislation which needs to be put in place are the Proclamation of the Data Protection Act and Electronic Transactions Act, and the enactment of Cybercrime legislation by the Ministry of National Security.

Explaining specifically what the benefits of e-Commerce would be, she said it would enable businesses to deepen their footprint in the Latin American and international markets.

"The Government will collaborate with the Inter-Amercian Development bank and other similar organizations to encourage more firms to establish their presence online on ConnectAmericas and other platforms created to grow businesses digitally. This would be an ideal avenue for local manufacturers and service providers to easily reach markets and entrepreneurs worldwide," she said.

Referring the implementation of e-Commerce, she said "the ministry of Trade and Industry is working very closely with the Ministry of Finance to implement what is referred to as an Electronic Funds Transfer Framework and an international consultant has already been recruited to assist in this task."