Impact Publications : AirCargo-258
AirCArgo AsiA-PACifiC • JAN-FEB, 2019 • Page 3 We cargo Book with us 73520.049 VAC Lift Off Campaign 2019#8 ACAP Print 210x297mm#2.indd 1 09/01/2019 09:27 Australia wins points for digital trade initiatives it released during Davos WHILE the World Economic Forum in Davos, Swit- zerland, helped start the year with a colourful blast of celebrity talking heads, most of them with an eye to TV news back home and only a few demonstrat- ing real economic knowledge, Australia actually scored some brownie points for what has been described as pioneering work in the development of new international rules in digital trade. Australia, Japan and Singapore hosted an informal meeting of ministers on the World Trade Organi- zation www.wto.org e-commerce initiative on the sidelines of Davos plenary sessions. Sorting out globally-acceptable rules for handling digital trade is of major importance to the air cargo sector, which is a key stakeholder. Australia - and the WTO overall - has signalled a willingness to consult industry on this initiative, which will build on already established e-commerce systems, many of them developed or progressed by Australia, New Zealand and other Asia Pacific econ- omies. In the past few months, Australian efforts have done much to ignite negotiations with 75 other WTO members on developing international digital trade rules. That cohort represents more than 90 per cent of global trade, confirming this is a move that’s likely to progress rapidly rather than fading away in well-meaning verbiage at events such as Davos. Simon Birmingham, Austral- ia’s minister for Trade, Tour- ism and Investment said estab- lishing new international rules for digital trade would help keep markets open, reduce barriers and make it easier for Australian businesses to grow into new markets and operate across borders. “Digital trade is an increasingly important way for Australia to do business with the rest of the world. It provides more opportunities for Australian busi- nesses to reach more customers across the globe as well as help further grow our economy. “We know half of Australian businesses are already engaged in the digital economy in some way and this number will continue to grow at a rapid rate.” Birmingham noted a recent report by the Hinrich Foundation www.hinrichfoundation.com had estimat- ed Australia’s digital exports could grow by 210 per cent by 2030 and that digital trade could enable close to A$200 billion of economic value in the Australian domestic economy. Hinrich Foundation, whose positioning statement is ‘promoting sustainable global trade’ was formed by Merle Hinrich of Global Sources fame. A WTO ministers’ meeting in Ottawa late last year responded to Australian legwork by agreeing to get meaningful negotiations under way, the aim being to achieve a standard outcome with the participation of as many global economies as possible. This would allow harmonisation of digital trade regulations and broad international acceptance from Day 1, rather than delayed sign-ups, ratifications and tinkering. “Commencing WTO negotiations on e-commerce is a significant step towards updating international trade rules in line with how modern business is done,” said Birmingham at Davos. Australia’s Simon Birmingham and his NZ counterpart David Parker. Continued next page.