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Mapping TradeTech: Trade in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Insight Report by World Economic Forum on how TradeTech is fundamental to harnessing the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to support the public good.

Lead Authors: Ziyang Fan & Jimena Sotelo


Mapping TradeTech: Trade in the Fourth Industrial Revolution was developed in cooperation with more than 50 global industry experts, policy-makers, academics and civil society leaders. It provides a comprehensive overview of the impact of emerging technologies on the global trade system, including the top ten most transformative technologies, according to a survey of hundreds of respondents from throughout the supply chain worldwide, as well as the top seven trends, from geographical considerations and the reinvention of logistics markets to supply chain resilience.

“On the one hand, TradeTech creates benefits such as efficiency gains, new digital products and services, and positive environmental impacts. On the other, TradeTech may pose challenges such as fragmented regulations, lack of data harmonization and a widening digital divide,” said Ziyang David Fan, Head of Digital Trade, World Economic Forum. He added: “Businesses and policy-makers have to work together in order to fully unlock the potential of new technologies for trade.”

TradeTech, or the set of technologies and innovations that enable trade to be more efficient, inclusive, and equitable, is fundamental to harnessing the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to support the public good. Yet the incorporation of technologies in trade could result in unintended consequences that should be addressed to ensure TradeTech works for all companies regardless of their size, and for all countries regardless of their level of development. This report aims to shed light on the landscape of emerging trade technologies and consider the opportunities and challenges for each, ranging from AI to IoT to 3D printing.


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