How can we ensure technology drives new trade opportunities and spreads the gains widely?
The Fourth Industrial Revolution – driven by rapid technological change and digitalization – has already had a profound impact on the way we trade. Cross-border e-commerce is booming. Data flows underpin value chains and new business models. New technologies are making supply chains and border clearance more efficient.
However, barriers in each of these areas do still exist, and could limit further benefits. E-commerce entrepreneurs must navigate challenges from delivery logistics to secure payments. New data localization policies are emerging that could fragment the digital economy. The promise of trade technologies to increase efficiency and inclusivity is being challenged.
The Forum’s Digital Trade work runs several projects bringing policymakers, experts and business together to develop guidance on e-commerce, data flows and trade technologies (trade tech). We aim to help stakeholders develop deeper understanding of the frameworks that encourage international trade in increasingly digital-driven economies.
Specific projects are ongoing across all regions and with various partners. For example, we are looking at the application of blockchain to trade single windows in Argentina, and looking at e-commerce trade priorities in Africa. With a group of 20-plus experts we are synthesizing impacts of data localization and framing trade policy options that balance economic and other priorities. We share insights from project work into international forums aiming to provide commercial and development context.
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