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Blockchain forum looks at how to accelerate digitalization to facilitate trade

According to World Trade Organization report ,the 2021 Global Trade and Blockchain Forum held on 30 March brought together policy-makers, trade officials and business representatives to discuss how to leverage blockchain technology to enhance the transparency and efficiency of supply chains and trade processes. It also looked into the role of governments in unlocking the potential of these technologies. The event included the launch of a new publication on trade digitalization co-published by the WTO and Trade Finance Global and a new online course on blockchain for trade.

The event, entitled “Accelerating Trade Digitalization through distributed ledger technology”, reviewed the latest developments in blockchain and how digital technologies such as distributed ledger technology (DLT) can help address the risks and inefficiencies in global supply chains to the benefit of all.  A distributed ledger is a digital list or database shared among nodes in a distributed network. Blockchain is one type of distributed ledger. More details on the event is available here.

In his opening remarks, Deputy-Director General Xiaozhun Yi said: “The pandemic has brought to the fore the archaism of trade processes still largely based on paper, with dire consequences on business operations in times of lockdowns. It has brought into sharp focus the need to urgently digitalize these outdated paper-based processes. The last 12 months have shown that going digital is no longer optional. It is a matter of survival for many companies, in particular the smallest ones who have been hit very hard by the current crisis.” DDG Yi’s full remarks are available here.

In his keynote speech, the Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce, John Denton, said:

“The economy cannot be simply put on ice indefinitely. Why prolong the human and economic pain of doing so, when existing technologies can be readily deployed to restore cross-border economic activity while guarding against unfettered spread of the virus? We have spoken for years about the potential for digital platforms and blockchain solutions to democratize access to the global trading system. With struggling SMEs desperately needing new sources of demand, it is high time to finally deliver on that promise if we are to deliver a truly resilient and durable recovery in the years ahead. Governments must lead from the front in this regard.”

In his keynote speech, Lew Chuen Hong, CEO of Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore, said: “While the trade and economic landscape as it stands today remains challenging, all of us are looking beyond the pandemic so as to emerge stronger both as governments and as business and I believe the move towards trade digitization is a key pillar. We must try to harmonize our policies and legal frameworks, and align to open technology standards. These are all the basic foundations for ubiquitous digitalization.”

The event is the second edition of the Global Trade and Blockchain Forum. The first was held in 2018. More information is available here.

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