President Obama confirmed his commitment during his recent State of the Union address, to an ambitious trade agenda benefitting U.S. businesses. Capitalizing on the momentum, eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) and 114 of its small market sellers crafted an open letter to the president in an attempt to impact cross border trade.
These 114 sellers represent eBay's community of 25 million sellers and are particularly committed to working to help advance international trade opportunities for small businesses in the United States.
"Our goal is to support policymakers in their efforts to improve trade policies for the post-Internet small businesses that help this country run and thrive," said Amanda Miller, corporate communications, eBay. "We have thousands of great stories to tell about small businesses that have customers all over the world. There is an opportunity for small businesses to use platforms like eBay to be part of the global economy and create an international store window to get more customers, sustain their businesses and support and grow local jobs."
Partner retailers on eBay are ready to move beyond trade rules developed pre-Internet and, according to an eBay study, more than 90 percent of U.S. businesses using eBay's marketplaces are trading across borders—on average these retailers do business in 30 countries.
"Roughly 40 percent of The Pro's Closet's sales are to overseas customers, so it's very important that we have a voice in the international trade conversations," said Nick Martin, founder, The Pro's Closet. "Our business is 100 percent on eBay and we process all of our payments through PayPal. The relationship has allowed us to access customers worldwide that are familiar with the marketplace. eBay allows us to sell internationally, which otherwise would have been impossible for someone trying to start a small business online."
In a letter addressed to the president this week, eBay praised Obama for his commitment to an ambitious trade agenda and a call to "modernize our trade policies."
"Unfortunately, businesses like ours cannot realize our full trade potential because outdated trade policies around the world limit our reach," stated the letter.
According to numbers by the U.S. International Trade Commission, removing foreign trade barriers to digital trade would increase the country's GDP by up to $41 billion.
EBay gave examples as to "pre-Internet" rules. "Domestic and international customs rules create real obstacles for us to increase exports, while open markets that allow for resale of goods and cross border data flows are critical to my participation in global commerce."
Retailers who signed the letter include executives from iSOLD It, Boston Fashion House, American RV Company, Diversified Brands, The Pro's Closet INC, Sole Elite and TireNet-USA, to name a few.
"As an advocate for small businesses, eBay is encouraged by President Obama's pledge to seek legislation that would enable small online businesses to take full advantage of the opportunities for them in international trade," added Miller.
EBay is in the midst of some internal changes as the board announced on Sept. 30 a plan to separate the company into two businesses, its marketplace and PayPal, and that eBay would focus less on delivery in favor of click-and-collect opportunities. The company also announced it would cut 2,400 employees, 7 percent of its workforce, as it enters into a standstill agreement with activist investor Carl Icahn.
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