STAFF REPORT ISB: Though internet facility is now available in all major cities of Pakistan and more and more people are taking to online communication, but still SMEs need more than internet access and entrepreneurial flair to thrive in conducting cross-border online trade, says a latest EIU-eBay report.

Things are improving overall, but the report notes significant challenges to e-trade, which seem relevant to the Pakistani market as well. The report notes that customs regimes are built to facilitate big businesses, which hurt small businesses that need to efficiently move their low-volume, low-value orders across borders.

Then there is the low prevalence of online payment systems like e-payments and m-payments. Some governments tend to become protectionist when it comes to e-trade and clamp down on the online trade due to threats to data privacy and cyber-security.

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