In most countries, Ma said, small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) contribute “more than 50 percent of GDP and an even higher percentage of employment. Over the past 20 or 30 years, financial systems were designed for the 20 percent of companies that are big multinationals, leaving 80 percent of businesses with no space to grow.”
To level the playing field, Ma is urging G20 nations to set up “digital free-trade zones” so that smaller businesses are able to bypass trade regulations. The current economic rules, Ma contended, favor large businesses that are able to navigate “obstacles such as complex regulations and market-entry regimes.”
Businesses with these trade zones could sell to consumers in another without paying import duties and contending with lengthy customs clearance. “Imagine if SMEs could buy and sell products anywhere in the world with mobile phones and PCs,” he said.
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