The UK’s first E-Commerce Trade Commission was launched on Tuesday 13 June. The commission has been convened by the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) and will be chaired by Marco Forgione, director general of the IOE&IT.
A Social Market Foundation (SMF) report, published in November 2022, found that with the right support up to 70,000 more SMEs could start exporting. It recommended the creation of a time-limited e-commerce exports taskforce. The commission was created in response to this and will run for two years.
The commission includes some of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms, such as Amazon, Alibaba, eBay, Google and Shopify, alongside the Federation of Small Businesses, the Association of International Courier & Express Services and ICAEW.
The commission will have three main objectives: simplification, perception and promotion.
To meet these objectives, the commission will publish two evidence-based reports that include policy recommendations to address existing trade barriers. It will also monitor demand and supply-side perceptions of UK exports. It aims to reach 70,000 businesses by April 2025 through campaign events, educational content, and case studies.
The Department for Business and Trade is supporting the commission. Secretary of State, Kemi Badenoch, and Minister for Exports, Lord Offord, attended the launch event.
Ed Saltmarsh, the Tax Faculty’s technical manager for VAT and Customs, said: “It was a pleasure to participate in the inaugural board meeting of the E-Commerce Trade Commission and attend the launch event on behalf of ICAEW. The SMF report showed what many of us already knew. Our members, chartered accountants, are the first people SMEs approach when they want to start or grow their export activity. We are therefore delighted to be involved in the commission and would ask our members to actively engage with us on this initiative over the next two years.”
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