Over a decade has passed since the government took the initiative in promoting the so-called e-Trade to strengthen the international competition of the trade industry through improving trade processes and automating trade affairs.
It has been never so smooth to develop a huge e-trade infrastructure in which up to 240 million electronic documents are distributed every year by establishing document standards reflecting the U.N. standards and developing more than 550 kinds of B2G and B2B e-documents.
Above all, it took more time and resources for the e-Trade to settle as the nation's important infrastructure exceeding 4 trillion won annually because of the trade industry's insufficient attention due to earlier trials and errors and uncertainty following the lack of experience.
Fortunately, however, the government has more systematically promoted the e- Trade by making related laws and launching KTNET in 1991 based on its strong will toward the e-trade.
In addition, the government in 2001 enforced a policy for the promotion of e- Trade and officially pushed ahead for the web-based e-Trade. Then in 2003, the government also launched a committee to promote e-Trade and the e-Trade has become one of the government's core tasks and one of the next generation businesses. As a result, e-Trade has taken its place as a pannational infrastructure used by most of the nation's companies.
Moreover, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) recently has chosen South Korea as a country equipped with an e-Trade environment, indicating that the nation has the world-level e-Trade system. Korea's e-Trade system not only has been recognized as the international standard by Asian, European and South American nations but also has been exported to foreign nations.
Like this, e-Trade which was considered a tool to strengthen the trade competition at first has become one of famous brands representing Korea. E-Trade has been recognized as a means to strengthen the national competitive edge so that the nation can achieve the goals of recording the US$1- trillion trade and being ranked one of the world's eight largest trade powers as early as possible.
Since the launch of the participatory government, in particular, the e-Trade has become more important and the government has promoted the e-Trade as its core task and the next-generation Korea Premium business. Supported by the nation's policy assistance, rich IT infrastructure and assistance and efforts of related industries including the trade, uTradeHub, the next-generation e-Trade system, opened on May 9.
From now on, the nation's companies will be able to execute all trade affairs regarding contracts, LCs, insurance, shipment and trade payment through the Internet using the upgraded e-Trade system. They also can improve their high-cost structure and strengthen their export competition through realizing continuous trade processes.
E-Trade, as the world's most advanced national service providing VAN/EDI-type and ebXML-type services to 46,455 exporting companies and related institutions, is a pan-national infrastructure whose annual economic effect is over 4 trillion won through improving processes and reducing costs. The 21st century is an era of speed. Speed is the most important factor which can decide success or failure of activities of the nation or companies. Speed is also important in trade transactions among nations.
Now it is necessary not only to expand the trade volume but also to improve the trade processes and reduce the costs. In consequence, exporters and trade companies should boldly make use of the e-Trade, and the trade industry and related institutions as well as the government should make careful efforts. Most of all, the realm of e-Trade should be sharply expanded so that it is applied to the entire processes of firms from purchase of goods, procurement and production to delivery, distribution and consumption, instead of focusing on affairs related to export, import and the nation's approval. Besides, much investment should be made for the global connection with foreign countries.
Additionally, the government will have to help as many as companies use the e- Trade more easily through continuous education and promotion on the e-Trade and institutional and financial support for small- and medium-sized companies. The companies also should actively be cope with the ``era of speed'' of the 21st century by actively taking part in informatization and digitalization.