The G20 e-Trade Readiness Index, jointly published today by eBay and The Economist Intelligence Unit, has named Australia as the most e-trade ready country in the world.
The index, which was released in the lead up to the G20 trade ministers' meeting in Sydney this week, and focuses primarily on G20 nations, looks at how prepared countries in the group are to capitalise on global e-trade opportunities.
It bases its findings on five key measures: investment climate, internet environment, international trading environment, regulatory and legal frameworks, and e-payments readiness.
According to the report, Australia is ranked number one based on strengths across all five of the categories measures, particularly in the domestic internet environment and e-payments environment.
"Australia has affordable internet access, a well-developed regulatory framework for commerce, high usage of electronic payment methods, and high smartphone penetration," the index report said.
According to Ted Cohen, vice president of global government relations and deputy general counsel at eBay Inc, the findings highlighted in the index reflect the need for industry to work together with government, businesses, and regulators to ensure growth in the sector.
"It is now more important than ever that we create a global environment that enables all businesses to reap the benefits of an interconnected world, with cross-border online shopping in Australia expected to increase 300 percent in five years," said Cohen. "However, the EIU index reinforces the need for business to work with industry, government and regulators to reduce barriers limiting the growth of cross-border trade.
"Our vision for a more connected form of commerce is one that is more inclusive, open, and diverse — and e-trade readiness is at the core of making the vision a reality."
After Australia, the United States ranks second in the index, followed by South Korea, the United Kingdom, and Japan, suggesting that richer countries, on average, have an atmosphere conducive to e-trade, according to the report.
While Australia topped the list on an all-round basis, the index ranked the United States number one for investment climate, while South Korea topped the list for mobile and broadband connectivity, with Australia in second.
South Korea also came first for international trading environment, while Germany was number one for regulatory and legal framework, and Canada was top of the list for e-payments readiness.
The report also suggests that geography plays a part in the results, with three of the top five ranked countries — Japan, the UK, and Australia — being both developed and islands that have long relied on international trade.
The report said that China, which was ranked ninth in the index, possessed enormous potential for ICT-enabled commerce — if the country can improve the operating environment.