Russian exports will grow online
It goes to the final direct discussion of a very important section of the Strategy for the Development of Trade in the Russian Federation until 2025 - "The Development of Electronic Commerce."
In the 2000s, the rapid growth of the number of electronic trading platforms began. And this is understandable. They connect peers ("peer-to-peer") of participants in the business process, creating a kind of network, conditions for unimpeded international trade. Electronic trading platforms are an example of bilateral or even multilateral markets that serve both suppliers offering goods and services and consumers who need them.
Electronic trading platforms make the market more transparent, and pricing - honest. The difference between wholesale and retail markets is becoming less strict. A key advantage of e-commerce platforms is the ability to enter new markets at lower transaction costs, which leads to a gradual increase in sales (by about 5-10 percent). At the same time, barriers to entry into the market for medium, small and even microbusiness are becoming lower. The platforms also provide an inexpensive channel for collecting customer feedback.
And it is not surprising that in all countries there are measures to support e-commerce. With the growth of online platforms, issues of regulation of consumer protection, taxation, competition and confidentiality arose. And here it is important not so much to regulate this market from the point of view of law, how many to adopt norms that will work for development. And here the key components are the creation of trust for users and consumers, the establishment of basic rules for the digital market, the strengthening of the information infrastructure.
At the same time, trust is the most important element for the development of this market. In 1999, the OECD adopted a one-of-a-kind recommendation on consumer protection in e-commerce. Today is an international standard. And more successful enterprises will be those that demonstrate great concern for building consumer confidence. This involves the development by the government, in a dialogue with business and consumers, of legislative changes aimed at protecting the most vulnerable participants in e-commerce.
But a number of measures can be taken by the business community itself, in particular sites that perform the functions of "selecting" the best companies and the best products for customers. The business community can determine a list of additional measures aimed at protecting consumers by providing a broader list of information about the seller, the goods, the method of payment, and developing requirements for self-regulation. For example, in 2015 in Germany, three online platforms signed the Code of Conduct with the support of the German Crowdsourcing Association. This year the participants of the Code are already eight platforms.
E-commerce usually does not bear legal responsibility for the safety of goods supplied by manufacturers through trading platforms. However, cooperation with the authorities helps protect consumers from unsafe products. In the UK, the Hampshire County Authority works on trade standards with two main sites. When employees of this body receive complaints about unsafe products, they have the right to notify the site of any problems and ask them to remove them from the catalog. In Japan in 2012, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the economy established cooperation with three major e-commerce platforms to strengthen compliance with product safety laws and restrict sales of consumer products that do not meet technical standards.
All these developments should be considered and applied to the Russian market. In any case, government agencies and institutions for the development of trade and export support (in Russia, the REC group, the SME Corporation) should play an important role in promoting national electronic platforms as export conductors for companies, primarily small and medium-sized enterprises. For example, to bring to the Russian companies practical information about the possibilities of trading via electronic channels. This can be done by holding large e-commerce forums with the support of the REC. Examples of such events can serve as annual forums for cross-border electronic commerce in China in conjunction with Canada, Brazil and the United States.
Among additional measures to support national electronic trading platforms in the framework of systemic measures to support international cooperation and exports, we would single out six areas.
The first is subsidizing part of the costs of promotion (participation in forums, exhibitions, SEO-promotion, etc.), as well as "advanced accounts". The second is the holding of seminars on e-commerce for exporters on an ongoing basis, with mandatory registration on national sites as a practice. The third is the creation of an electronic information resource for the development of the literacy of the population in the field of electronic commerce. The fourth is the placement of cross-references to partner sites and the creation of a network of national electronic trading platforms. The fifth is the abolition of currency restrictions (repatriation requirements for foreign trade contracts and drawing up a transaction passport), as well as the creation of opportunities for full-fledged use of electronic funds in the calculations between companies.
And, finally, the sixth - no less important direction, is the building of interaction with foreign sites through the conclusion of memorandums with the REC, which provide for the reduction of barriers for Russian exporters and the exchange of information.
The solution of these tasks will create new opportunities not only for quantitative, but also qualitative development of Russian exports through the opening of new markets and the formation of confidence in Russian suppliers and products.