The World Trade Board has announced that blockchain technology is one of its three key initiatives to drive the global trade finance agenda. This marks a move to facilitate and expand global trade in support of long-term economic growth and prosperity for people across the world. As such it will promote blockchain education, standards and adoption for the complex ecosystem of world trade.

To achieve this, the World Trade Board will utilise its to bring together the different parts of the trade ecosystem: producers, collateral managers, shipping firms, banks, governments and Non-Governmental Organisations. Its Blockchain Working Group intends to deliver education across these stakeholders in global trade and shape discussion on implementation standards and the adoption of best practices.

Steven Beck, Member of the World Trade Board and Head of Trade Finance at Asian Development Bank, said: “Many of the barriers to global trade and access to finance can be addressed with technology. The success of these initiatives and our ability to address impediments to trade through financial technology is largely based on our ability to easily, accurately and efficiently find, track and validate information – about individuals, businesses, and goods too. Following the success and ambition of the first World Trade Symposium, it is time to turn talk into action.”

In addition, in consultation with GLEIF, the World Trade Board will launch a taskforce to drive greater adoption of Legal Entity Identifiers by global businesses, with a focus on small and medium enterprises. This initiative will serve to improve transparency, support trade finance digitalisation and streamline onboarding and risk management along global financial supply chains in order to underpin more inclusive trade and SME finance.

Engaging and supporting the mandate of the World SME Forum – and the initiatives coming from it – aims to enable SMEs from around the world to engage effectively and successfully in international markets. This will assist in increasing the global economic impact of these organisations.

Co-Chair of the World Trade Board and President at Misys, Simon Paris commented: “Globalisation and digitalisation are game-changers in the world of trade. Through a greater integration of trade, finance and technology we can facilitate improvements in transparency, the adoption of harmonised standards and incentives that can help trade realise its potential as a force for transformation. The initiatives outlined are designed with this in mind. There is no better time for the stakeholders in global trade to unite under a common goal – to improve people’s lives.”

The World Trade Board and World Trade Symposium aim to foster an inclusive future for international trade, finance and investment by bringing together global and regional leaders in business, finance, technology, politics and economics. Through collaborative initiatives, the objective is to inspire, educate and deliver action oriented working groups that provide substantive outcomes and forward thinking around sustainable trade and the circular economy. The Board will take active roles in expanding these initiatives and driving input into the agenda of the World Trade Symposium 2017.



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