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.

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/

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Hanne Melin
Hanne Melin is policy counsel for eBay Inc. where her work covers a variety of global Internet issues including international trade, intellectual property policy, and financial services. She is a guest lecturer at the law faculty of Lund University and a member of the European Commission’s Strategic Policy Forum on Digital Entrepreneurship. She has an LLM from Lund University, Sweden, and an LLM in international business law from King’s College London, United Kingdom.