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The world is meeting together for devising global e-commerce laws that could help multiply the volume of the latest format of the trade but also ensure the protection of online buyers and sellers.

On January 25, ministers and representatives of 76 World Trade Organization (WTO) member nations convened in Switzerland seeking to create a set of rules for regularizing e-commerce across the world. The unfortunate part is that Pakistan didn’t opt to join the gathering despite it being an open forum for the entire WTO members.

The member states including China, US, European Union, and Japan, agreed to start a negotiation process in the March this year for making a new framework for the global e-commerce trade that has witnessed an explosive growth during past few years.

According to a WTO report, the total value of e-commerce transactions in 2016 was $ 27.7 trillion out of which $ 24 trillion were observed as business-to-business transactions.

The experts believe e-commerce transactions in Pakistan may cross $ 1 billion mark by 2020.

However, the lack of interest from the IT and Trade ministries hint less than promising future for online traders and buyers in Pakistan. Razak Dawood, the Adviser on Commerce hasn’t reportedly planned to take part in any such initiative.

As the world meets again in March, the formulation of new e-commerce laws will address the significant challenges;

  1. Consumer’s trust in online trade
  2. Tackling barriers that prevent cross border sales
  3. Guarantee validity of e-contracts and e-signatures
  4. Banning of customs duties on electronic transmissions
  5. Address forced data localization requirements and forced disclosure of source code

At home, Pakistan is yet to device a legislative infrastructure for e-commerce. Despite boasting about the marginal e-commerce activity that takes place in the country, buyers and sellers still face some of the fundamental challenges of lacking online payment infrastructure and a lackluster delivery mechanism of goods which does not thoroughly covers even the mid-tier cities.

Additionally, Pakistan has some incomprehensive and less practicable electronic legislation in the shape of Electronic Transactions Ordinance 2002, and Prevention of Electronic Crime Bill 2016 that do not support e-commerce in the country. There is Electronic Certification and Accreditation  Council as well that deal with e-signatures and e-contracts for digital transactions. Even the FBR is yet to come up with a policy of looking after the electronic stores in the country.

Image source: euronews


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