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Harnessing e-commerce post-COVID-19: opportunities and challenges for transition economies

25 February 2021 11:00 - 12:30
HARNESSING E-COMMERCE POST-COVID-19:  OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR TRANSITION ECONOMIES
Webinar, organized by UNECE in partnership with the Geneva Trade Platform

Russian interpretation provided

Background:

The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light a number of challenges to the global economy and trade worldwide. For the first time, digital technologies offered an alternative channel for maintaining business activities, social interactions and consumption in times of strict lockdowns. COVID-19 has demonstrated the special role e-commerce can play during the crisis and beyond.

While the COVID-19 crisis has enhanced dynamism in e-commerce, it has also exposed pre-existing challenges, faced by aspiring e-commerce entrepreneurs around the globe. These include regulatory differences such as access to online payment solutions, reliable internet and electricity connections, the prohibitive costs of trading across borders, visibility in online searches and advertising and sales platforms. The pandemic has also stressed the crucial importance to bridge the digital divide both within and across countries. Furthermore, COVID-19 exposed the need to address questions about the extent to which small producers, sellers and consumers in developing countries and economies in transition can benefit from the opportunities that e-commerce provides. All of this is happening against the backdrop of ongoing e-commerce negotiations at the WTO.

This webinar will explore recent COVID-19-induced trends in e-commerce and outline challenges and opportunities for ransition economies in the UNECE region, i.e. Central Asia, Southern Caucasus, Western Balkan and Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation. Discussions will look at the WTO e-commerce negotiations and the way forward for harnessing e-commerce post-COVID-19.

The session will bring together speakers from international organizations, academia/think tanks and national/regional agencies. Simultaneous translation English-Russian aims at providing access to information to transition economy policy makers.

Target audience (with a particular focus on the UNECE region):

  • Trade and sustainable development community
  • Government representatives, academia, development partners, private sector

Format:

  • Online session with two presentations, followed by commentators and Q&A from the audience
  • Simultaneous interpretation English-Russian with a view to reaching audience in capitals

Registration

On-line registration is open.

Moderator:

  • Ms Elisabeth Tuerk, Director, Economic Cooperation and Trade, UNECE

Speakers:

  • Mr Vitaliy Pogoretskyy, Counsel, Advisory Centre on WTO Law: WTO negotiations on e-commerce: overview and take-aways for developing economies
  • Ms Hadil Hijazi, Director, WTI Advisors Ltd. (Oxford/Geneva): Recent e-commerce trends across UNECE’s transition economies

Discussants:

  • Mr Torbjörn Fredriksson, Chief of the ICT Policy Section, Division on Technology and Logistics, UNCTAD
  • Mr Maxim Medvedkov, Head, Department of Trade Policy, Higher School of Economics, Moscow