E-commerce is revolutionizing the way we trade by giving businesses unprecedented access to new markets. Tools such as eBay have become the great equalizer of international trade: empowering small businesses in a globalized trade environment traditionally dominated by large firms. With so much to gain from these emerging trade patterns, Canadian trade policy can’t afford to be stuck in the past.

In a new IRPP study, authors Hanne Melin and Usman Ahmed argue that Canadian trade policies are creating obstacles for small businesses engaging in cross-border online trade. Using data from eBay between 2008 and 2013, they found that e-commerce businesses export at a much higher rate, reach more countries, and grow faster than do their offline counterparts. We caught up with Hanne to learn how the government can foster the growth of technology-enabled small businesses.

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Hanne Melin and Usman Ahmed’s IRPP study “Technology-Enabled Small Business Trade in Canada: New Evidence from eBay Marketplaces” irpp.org/research-studies/aots6-ahmed-melin/