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Some of the world’s biggest companies are approaching the import-export trade facilitation from other directions. Alibaba Group may be known primarily as an online retail marketplace, but its roots and some of its strongest growth are said to be in its international B2B marketplace. There, the company attributes much of the recent growth to increased use by impor
ters and exporters of such services as requesting price quotations from multiple suppliers and verifying trading partners’ identities.
In a related development, Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma has launched what he calls an electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) to help small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) “overcome complex regulations, processes and barriers that hinder their participation in global commerce.” The plan involves business-driven e-commerce hubs in different countries, together with government-established virtual free trade zones for SMEs.The first such hub was created in early 2017 in Malaysia.
Amazon is seen competing with Alibaba in this arena, with its Amazon Business B2B portal, which is also considered a rapidly growing segment of its business. Among its support for companies seeking suppliers is a “seller credential program,” allowing suppliers to post third-party certifications from such organizations as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
A Sydney, Australia, company called QualityTrade.com has in fact taken such third-party credentials as the basis for an “ISO certified marketplace” for buyers and suppliers. “As an ISO-certified company, you can upload information about your business, products and services, to demonstrate your level of compliance, operational capability and historical performance. The information presented allows the buyers in our network to assess your suitability for trade,” the company says.
Article written by Karen Lynch, a accomplished, widely credited journalist who has covered global business, technology and policy in New York, Paris and Washington, DC, for more than 30 years.