Australia promotes digital trade in Samoa

A regional Digital Trade Standardisation Initiative has reached Samoa’s shores, with a two-day session on digital trade for stakeholders of the sector.

The Australian Government and Standards Australia is delivering the Indo-Pacific Digital Trade Standardisation Initiative to 10 countries including Samoa, aiming to harmonise international standards.

The initiative is part of Australia’s Pacific Step Up. It works alongside national standards bodies to improve digital trade, and create a unified economic platform.

Samoa’s financial institutions, social media marketing platforms and mobile network providers were among the participants of the session.

Digital trade is the digitally enabled transaction of goods and services, such as through online marketplaces or booking platforms. 

According to Australian High Commissioner Sara Moriarty, digital trade is becoming increasingly important to the way the Pacific region trades.

International standards have their benefits, and countries can best access them when their standards are “harmonised".

“The cooperation between national standards bodies and businesses that were present at today’s workshop is an important step towards harmonising standards and promoting international trade across the Indo-Pacific,” the Australian High Commissioner said.

By September 2019, a custom plan for Samoa will be designed and ready for implementation to improve Samoa’s digital trade standards infrastructure. 

Bangladesh, Bhutan, Fiji, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tonga and Vanuatu are the other nations involved in the three-year programme. 

Just last month, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a non-profit research organisation based in Washington D.C, published a research paper stating the economic weight of the region is “an opportunity too great to miss".

The report, entitled "Delivering Prosperity in the Indo-Pacific: An Agenda for Australia and the United States" said the two countries should work together to keep Asian markets open, contestable and rules-based.

“In doing so, Washington and Canberra can help maximise the prosperity and security of the American and Australian people, as well as those in the region,” co-authors Matthew Goodman and Gordon de Brower write.

They recommended the U.S. and Australia should work with Japan and Indonesia to “strengthen principles and best practices for regulation of digital commerce in the region", and to codify best practice for digital activity like data use and storage.

The report also recommended greater investment in standard setting for emerging technologies like 5G. 

“Both countries should develop a comprehensive strategy that leverages other countries that promote a free and open internet and the private sector to ensure standards maintain a competitive private sector, market principles, and privacy.”

Bg pattern light


Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?