UNOSSC and China Conduct Seminar Series on South-South Cooperation in Cross-border E-commerce

July 24, 2023

24 July 2023: A capacity development seminar on South-South cooperation in cross-border e-commerce for poverty eradication and global sustainable development opened in Beijing today. Eighteen policy-makers and practitioners from 14 developing countries attended the seminar.

Hosted by the Government of China in partnership with the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), the seminar is part of a series listed as a deliverable of the Global Development Initiative (GDI). Initially announced at the 2021 United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation commemoration event by the Government of China, the primary goal of the seminar series is to facilitate knowledge sharing and policy exchanges on cross-border e-commerce among policy makers, practitioners and entrepreneurs from developing countries. Additionally, it aims to provide a platform for partnership building and project cooperation through South-South and triangular cooperation.

Mr. Lei Hao, Vice President of the Academy for International Business Officials (AIBO), Ministry of Commerce of China, opened the seminar underlining that the development of digital economy and cross-border e-commerce will help reduce poverty and promote sustainable development. It was emphasized that developing countries need to align strategies with their national conditions, optimize the business environment, and enhance international cooperation. China has signed e-commerce cooperation memorandums and established bilateral mechanisms with 28 countries and established 165 cross-border e-commerce special economic pilot zones nation-wide.

In her video message, Ms. Dima Al-Khatib, Director of UNOSSC, highlighted the transformative impact of e-commerce and digital trade on the economies of the Global South. She emphasized the need for enhanced cross-border collaboration, where South-South cooperation can play a crucial role in fostering partnerships, building capacity, and creating enabling ecosystems for cross-border e-commerce.

On behalf of participants, Ms. Vilayluck Seneduangdeth, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Lao PDR to the UN, highlighted that there is significant potential for developing countries to engage in and benefit from the growth of cross-border e-commerce. This potential can be harnessed to promote poverty eradication, inclusive and equitable development, gender empowerment, job creation, and trade facilitation. It was noted that this seminar presents an opportunity to learn from China’s good practices in e-commerce government policy, regulations, platform building, and more. It serves as a critical lever to propel stronger alliances among nations within the Global South.

Mr. Diao Jiandong, Principal of Shandong Foreign Trade Vocational College, the organizing institution commissioned by host government, introduced the cross-border e-commerce industry chain in Shandong Province and the talent development mechanism of the college. He also welcomed to further opportunities for cooperation in the fields of education, trade, and more.

This seminar is a follow-up to a 5-day online training segment which took place in March 2022. More than 1,100 participants attended from over 90 countries and territories. Building on feedback received, and in response to demands for more in-depth and pragmatic cooperation, this 12-day seminar will include policy exchanges with local policymakers and field study visits to cross-border e-commerce special economic zones.

Week 1 Seminar Update: Thematic Discussions and Field Trips

31 July 2023 – The Seminar on “South-South Cooperation in Cross-border E-commerce for Poverty Eradication and Global Sustainable Development” opened in Beijing on 24 July. During the past week, 18 policymakers and practitioners from 14 developing countries engaged in a series of thematic discussions and policy dialogues with policy makers and local officials from the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and provincial and municipal government officials of the cities of Beijing, Jinan and Qingdao. They also participated in field study visits to the local e-commerce expo and special economic zones to gain a deeper understanding of good practices and policies in promoting cross-border e-commerce and understanding the current landscape of global digital trade. Please see below some highlights of the week.

Participants had insightful discussions and exchanged ideas with the Department of Foreign Trade of the Ministry of Commerce, delving into the development of cross-border e-commerce in China. This session provided a valuable opportunity to learn from China’s experiences in leveraging e-commerce to drive economic growth and social development and to eradicate extreme poverty.

An in-depth analysis of the current situation, challenges, and emerging trends in the development of global digital trade was conducted. Participants gained a comprehensive understanding of the opportunities and obstacles in the ever-evolving digital trade landscape.


During the field study visits, the participants visited the headquarters of the International Summit on Innovation and Development of Youth Entrepreneurs, exchanging insights. They also visited the Qingdao Cross-border E-commerce Expo, a prominent platform showcasing the construction of a robust cross-border e-commerce ecosystem.

A policy dialogue was held with the local policy makers and officials of Qingdao Municipal Government. The focus was on exploring the synergies between local government planning and investments and cross-border e-commerce development.

As the seminar progresses, participants will continue to engage in fruitful exchanges and participate in lectures and policy dialogues to explore innovative approaches to harnessing cross-border e-commerce for achieving poverty eradication at the local level.