FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2 October, 2016
Regional Workshop on e-Commerce Legislation in the Caribbean
The Ministry of Public Administration’s National ICT Division (formerly the Ministry of Science and Technology) and the United Nations Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD are hosting a Workshop on the Harmonisation of e-Commerce Legislation for national and regional participants at the Trinidad Hilton and Conference Centre.
The four-day seminar, which began on September 29th, is intended to assist Caribbean countries in enhancing their readiness to engage in e-Commerce. This workshop builds on the successful online distance learning course on legal aspects of E-commerce conducted by UNCTAD in March 2015. The focus on e-Commerce underscores the growing importance of online trade which has provided opportunities for even the smallest of businesses.
Participants from Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago have been engaged in discussions on building capacity and revising laws and regulations related to e-Commerce, taking into account new technologies and platforms, and the need for international harmonisation and collaboration.
UNCTAD has been pursuing a collaborative approach with institutional partners, the private sector and other actors such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC), United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Bank, the United States Department of Justice, the United States Federal Trade Commission. Facilitators were sourced from these organizations and the local e-commerce business TriniTrolley, all of whom provided their perspectives on key areas of e-Commerce legislation and the importance of harmonization to Caribbean states.
In her opening remarks to the workshop, UNCTAD’s Economic Affairs Officer, Cécile Barayre, underscored the importance of e-commerce legislation to the Caribbean stating that “developing country officials are increasingly aware of the need to adopt and adapt legislation to take into account the potential of e-commerce domestically and across borders.”
In noting that consumers in the Caribbean have benefitted from the influence of technology on modern commerce with easier access to a wider variety of goods and services from anywhere in the world, Ms Lisa Ann Phillips, Deputy Permanent Secretary, called for a transition from being consumers to active producers of goods and services. This she indicated could be realised by leveraging the e-commerce environment to market indigenous goods and services to the world providing a latent opportunity for job creation, economic growth and increased global competitiveness.
Note to editors:
UNCTAD which is governed by its 194 Member States, is the focal point within the United Nations system for the integrated treatment of trade and development and inter-related issues in the areas of finance, technology, investment and sustainable development. In the area of information and communication technologies (ICTs), UNCTAD carries out policyoriented analytical work on their development implications and contributes to building the capacities of developing countries to measure the information economy and to design and implement relevant policies and legal frameworks.