Blockchain-based online dispute resolution for consumers set to improve international trade and electronic commerce.
UNCTAD and the China Silk Road Group signed on 10 July an agreement to deliver online dispute resolution to consumers in south-east Asia as a tool to improve international trade and electronic commerce.
The China Silk Road Group (CSRG) is a private sector entity supporting the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative.
It has partnered with UNCTAD to help consumers reap the benefits of closer trade relations in the digital economy.
Since the UN guidelines on consumer protection were last revised in 2015, UNCTAD has been entrusted by the General Assembly with the mandate for advancing consumer protection in the new digital era.
“Building trust among digital consumers – and securing innovative solutions to protect them – is critical for ensuring developing countries gain from cross-border e-trade,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said.
The 2019 UNCTAD/Ipsos global survey on internet security and trust showed that distrust in the internet is causing people to change the way they behave online, with 49% of respondents saying their distrust has caused them to disclose less personal information online.
One way to increase consumers’ trust in e-commerce is to allow for dispute resolution with businesses when things go awry.
“If a consumer has a way of solving disputes in a cheap, fast and fair manner, he or she will be more eager to engage online, especially in cross-border e-commerce,” UNCTAD’s head of consumer protection, Teresa Moreira, said.
The project by UNCTAD and CSRG is expected to speed things up. Malaysia and Thailand will benefit from the pilot project.
“We want to provide technological solutions to 21st century problems,” CSRG chairman, Yan Lijin, said.
“We are partnering with UNCTAD so that China shares its expertise on blockchain, while UNCTAD provides its experience in consumer protection and technical assistance to developing countries.”