Azerbaijan plans to create global market for e-commerce with EU

Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug.18

By Huseyn Veliyev - Trend:

Azerbaijan intends to take an active part in the formation of a unified digital market in accordance with the initiative of the European Union HDM Initiative (Harmonizing Digital Markets of EU and Eastern Partnership countries), the director of the Regional Information Technologies Academy (RITA) Tofig Babaev told Trend.

HDM Initiative includes countries of the "Eastern Partnership" (Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia), Babaev said.

"HDM Initiative envisages the creation of a unified digital space, the digital market at a broad level, so that entrepreneurs could have a single numeric field for the trading and settlements. HDM Initiative consists of 14 important aspects, including the creation of legislation, customs, software for trading and so on," he said.

The first meeting of the European countries and the countries of the "Eastern Partnership" by HDM Initiative was held on 19-20 July in Brussels. Azerbaijan at the meeting was represented by the Ministry of Communications and high technologies and the Confederation of Entrepreneurs of the country.

Within the frameworks of the meeting it was decided that each country would select five or six directions of 14 demands of HDM Initiative, in order for the European Commission to decide on the issue of funding for the initiative. Regular meeting on HDM Initiative will be held in mid-October in Brussels. It is expected that the European Commission will officially apply to Azerbaijan on this initiative, and steps will be taken for the preparation of the ideas and proposals of the Azerbaijani side on that basis.

"Formation of e-commerce platform is one of the areas of HDM Initiative. HDM Initiative platform of e-commerce is significantly different in its requirements from those of traditional local sites like Amazon, eBay and others. Major purchases and sales between Europe and its associate members are the matter. That's why it is necessary to create a legal basis first of all in order to achieve this goal", said Babaev.

Among the important aspects to be regulated, there are also issues related to the passage of goods through customs. It is important to know whether the customs rules allow a large shipment of products.

"All of this, of course, is characteristic not only for Azerbaijan. The thing is that in the EU the issue of e-commerce has not been fully agreed upon. Legislation of many countries in Europe doesn't allow to bring e-commerce on a more global level. Besides legislative and regulatory aspects, there is a number of other equally important ones. Conformity of the product with the requirements of the EU is the case. It is important that entrepreneurs themselves were aware of the requirements," said Babaev.

Another important aspect is the reciprocal recognition of digital signatures, he stated. The use of e-signatures in Azerbaijan started not so long ago as in the EU. Nevertheless, the e-signature used in one European country may not be recognized in another one.

"Mutual recognition of e-signatures by the EU and "Eastern Partnership" is a top priority noted in HDM Initiative. This issue is also important to agree on using the legislation. In Azerbaijan a document authenticated by a digital signature and a document signed by hand are recognized as equivalent. But the digital signature is not yet valid for striking a major deal," said Babaev.

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