The cross-border e-commerce market has grown spectacularly in the last few years as foreign traders, particularly those located in China, have been able to use online platforms to more easily access Western markets. However, the mechanisms which have facilitated this boom in global trade are increasingly being called into question due to the way in which they directly and indirectly impact on the market.

Foremost of these criticisms is the artificially low cost of international postal services which allow foreign traders to compete unfairly against e-retailers and manufacturers based in the West. Moreover, it seems that taxpayers in many developed countries could be subsidizing these postal rates and even facilitating trade in counterfeit goods as well as aiding the fraudulent non- or mis- declaration of VAT. This paper looks at some of the issues involved.