How the Web Transactions Regulation can stifle MSMEs
The federal government should steadiness regulation with the expansion of MSMEs and boundaries to entry into the sector of e-commerce.
E-commerce has change into the default mode of transactions for Filipino shoppers and MSMEs.
Now that the pandemic is over and the financial system has opened up, shoppers and companies have embraced the advantages and comfort provided by web and e-commerce platforms utilizing cashless cost strategies, creating a chance for the nation to develop right into a thriving digital financial system.
With the development of web penetration and elevated investments in digital infrastructures, the borderless nature of e-commerce gives ample alternatives to benefit from the worldwide market that’s open to all e-commerce retailers, massive or small.
Nevertheless, the convenience and pace of e-commerce transactions additionally create points and challenges.
The Ministry of Commerce and Trade has recorded rising complaints from shoppers about unhealthy transactions attributable to faulty merchandise, misleading, unfair or unreasonable promoting acts or practices by some on-line sellers.
The Philippines has seen important progress in its e-commerce sector, with a complete market turnover of $17 billion in 2021, largely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The US Division of Commerce estimates that by 2025, gross sales will whole $24 billion.
This fast progress has prompted the necessity for a regulatory framework to control this sector.
In December 2022, the proposed On-line Transactions Act was accepted within the Home of Representatives and is now into account within the Senate.
The aim of the ITA is to control the sector, defend shopper rights, promote mental property, and extra.
E-commerce has supplied alternatives for progress and wider participation of MSMEs available in the market.
With decrease fastened capital necessities, boundaries to market entry are decrease, which has inspired many small native entrepreneurs to take part.
MSMEs have discovered platforms not solely in e-commerce giants like Shopee and Lazada, but additionally in social media.
Nevertheless, each massive e-commerce platforms and MSMEs have expressed issues concerning the present model of the proposed worldwide commerce settlement, which is now pending within the Senate.
Whereas the invoice goals to empower shoppers, there are provisions within the present proposal that not solely create boundaries to entry but additionally embrace penal provisions that might put SMEs at an obstacle.
Creating a web-based dispute decision system the place on-line shoppers can file civil and administrative complaints has benefits and downsides.
On the one hand, it may assist stop scams.
Alternatively, blanket regulation could hurt small gamers, because the definitions of violations, liabilities and different phrases are at the moment outlined so broadly that even micro, small and medium enterprises could face many authorized circumstances and excessive fines that they can’t afford.
Giant platforms comparable to Shopee and Lazada have their very own authorized departments to deal with and resolve such circumstances, whereas e-commerce based mostly MSMEs could not have the authorized capability or sources to take action.
The proposed invoice would create extra paperwork, requiring platforms and retailers to register with the E-Commerce Bureau for functions of transparency and legality.
Data required for registration shall be printed, which can increase information privateness issues. As well as, the present invoice imposes a variety of “obligations for e-retailers and on-line retailers,” together with detailed tips on advertising and marketing, promoting, issuing receipts and invoices, and extra.
MSMEs could not have the manpower to adjust to these complete tips, as most small e-commerce companies function with a small variety of employees.
The proposed laws might act as a barrier to market entry, slightly than selling progress within the sector, which might put SMEs at an obstacle.
Extreme regulation could trigger many MSMEs to exit the market.
This sentiment was echoed by MSME contributors in a roundtable held by Bayan Academy in December 2020, who indicated that if the implementation of registration, extra prices and extra regulation is required to have interaction in e-commerce, they’re much less more likely to interact in e-commerce. part.
It’s clear that these potential modifications might have a major affect on the willingness and talent of SMEs to have interaction in e-commerce, which is a priority for each the companies themselves and the shoppers who profit from their providers.
Because the rights of each consumers and sellers should be protected within the on-line market, there’s a want for a authorized framework to control the sector of e-commerce, but it surely should steadiness regulation with market progress and innovation.
A very good instance is how Singapore offers with e-commerce regulation.
They launched their first nationwide commonplace, TR 76, to extend transparency and shopper confidence in on-line transactions. On-line marketplaces should present their authorized id and get in touch with particulars and have mechanisms in place to deal with disputes.
The rules intention to enhance shopper consciousness and self-regulation to keep away from scams.
Desmond Tan, Chair of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Fraud and Minister of State within the Workplace of the Prime Minister of Singapore, said that transaction security assessments within the e-commerce market construct on these tips by rising shopper consciousness on anti-fraud measures in key digital transactions. Commerce markets in Singapore.
Whereas the proposed On-line Transactions Regulation might present shopper safety, the federal government should steadiness regulation with the expansion of MSMEs and boundaries to entry into the e-commerce house.