RELEASE: Pacific e-commerce portal launch marks graduation event

Wednesday 24 August 2022, PIFSec. SUVA— The Pacific Islands Forum has launched a new Pacific E-commerce Portal alongside a hybrid graduation event for 74 E-commerce Discipline students.
The hybrid event marks a year since the Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap was endorsed by Forum Trade Ministers at their August 2021 meeting.

The Portal is a regional repository to boost e-commerce by providing information on available development programs; resources such as toolkits to help businesses move their operations online, training courses to help build capacity for pacific policymakers; and a library consolidating regional analysis and national and regional e-commerce strategies. The portal also presents the first regional database of e-commerce statistics to support evidence-based policy making and provides information from partners of the Pacific E-commerce Initiative.

The graduation ceremony for the Pacific E-commerce Disciplines course saw seventy-four participants from twelve Pacific Island Countries receiving their certificates. The four-weeks course on E-commerce rules for Pacific negotiators took place in March and April 2022 to upskill regional policymakers on E-commerce laws and regulations to support their readiness to negotiate and implement future digital trade agreements and E-commerce provisions in any future Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).

The development of the Pacific E-commerce Portal and training course on E-Commerce are amongst key priorities of the Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap.

Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, Fiji’s Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, and the Forum Trade Ministers Chair said “previously we did not have a central repository for tracking ecommerce developments and engagements in the Pacific, and now we welcome one, rich with information and resources. This is a sign of solid progress and strong partnership in the region, and I urge pacific businesses and policymakers to make effective use of this new tool.”

For the Forum Secretary General, Mr Henry Puna, the event marks new momentum but he cautioned that “as we celebrate, we must remember that challenges remain. E-commerce information and data in the Pacific is near absent or scattered.” The new Pacific E-commerce Portal will help address those challenges, he said, noting “the work aligns well with the 2050 Strategy which seeks to ensure Pacific peoples benefit from Information and Communication Technologies.”

“Australia has welcomed the opportunity to support the establishment of the Pacific E-commerce Portal. E-commerce work aligns to the Technology and Connectivity priority of our Pacific 2050 Strategy. The Pacific E-commerce Initiative is a truly collaborative effort to promote regional economic development. I look forward to seeing the Portal in action, ” said Tim Yeend, Associate Secretary, DFAT Australia.

The Pacific E-commerce Portal and the Ecommerce Disciplines Course were both funded by Australia. The E-commerce statistics database hosted by the portal benefitted from technical input from the Pacific Community, SPC, and the UN Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD.

 LINKS

• To access the Pacific E-commerce Portal

• The Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap 

• For the Pacific E-commerce Initiative