Liege, Belgium, December 5, 2018 – The Federal Government of Belgium and Alibaba Group Holding Limited announced today that the two will jointly promote inclusive trade under the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) initiative.
The initiative is geared towards facilitating greater and more equitable access to cross-border trade opportunities, in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
For those unfamiliar with eWTP, it is an international agreement that would remove trade barriers that currently make it difficult for small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) to buy and sell globally – a sort of World Trade Organization for e-commerce.
“This will be a huge opportunity to boost exports and bring wide reaching economic benefits to society, including employment opportunities to Liege,” says the Prime Minister of Belgium Charles Michel. “This is an opportunity for not just the small businesses and young people in Belgium but across Europe.”
“With over 98% of European companies being small to medium businesses, this partnership signifies our initial and expanded effort to enhance inclusive trade opportunities for these businesses in Belgium and across Europe,” explains Alibaba Group’s Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang.
The idea for the initiative was first pitched by Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group, at the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, the fall of 2016.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the eWTP was also signed today by Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Employment, Economy and Consumer Affairs Kris Peeters, and Alibaba Group President of Global Business Angel Zhao.
Committed to serving as the “Gateway to China”, Alibaba will help import US$200 billion worth of quality goods from the world to China over the next five years.
Alibaba will also work closely with the Belgian government to promote Belgium as an attractive tourist destination for Chinese tourists.
Featured photo credit to Alizila