Cardboard boxes in warehouse

Why a balance between e-commerce trade and mitigating risks is required

In this episode of the NextWave Global Trade podcast series, Brenda Brockman Smith and Dan Dreyfus share their insights on e-commerce and the impact of customs control on e-commerce firms.

E-commerce growth is accelerating and every year there is tremendous development in the sector. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reports that in 2018 business-to-consumer e-commerce was valued at more than US$4t, proving that the market is extremely large and growing rapidly. But are countries prepared to facilitate this growth?

E-commerce rules and the treatment of e-commerce vary from country to country. And in some cases, this difference is considerable and wide. Even with similarities on paper, or in law, countries handle packages and e-commerce very differently. It is easy to think about e-commerce as being a globally cohesive system or ecosystem where consumers everywhere can make purchases online and receive packages overnight. But in reality, it is far from it. 

Key takeaways:

  • The growth in e-commerce presents several new opportunities for international business, but it also opens the doors to counterfeiters, criminals and other trade violators.
  • In many countries, modernized systems capable of processing the high volume of e-commerce trade with risk assessment don’t exist at the moment.
  • Customs administrations around the globe need to have much greater visibility into e-commerce supply chains.

For your convenience, full text transcript of this podcast is also available.

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Brenda Brockman Smith

Former Executive Assistant Commissioner for Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection


Episode 2


19m 54s