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WTO & WEF Co-Launch Tradetech Policy Report

The promise of TradeTech: Policy approaches to harness trade digitalization

Technology has always propelled trade. From the invention of the steam engine and steamship in the 1700s, the popularization of the standard shipping container in the 1950s, and the rise of the internet in the 1990s, technology has over the centuries profoundly changed the way we trade. Today, emerging technologies and digitalization are changing trade at a speed much faster than before – leading to both opportunities and challenges.

TradeTech adoption is moving fast, largely driven by the private sector. But leveraging technologies for trade requires more than innovation: trade policy must keep pace.

The major challenge might be international policy coordination and coherence. Uneven deployment due to regulatory fragmentation could result in unintended consequences of unequal growth, threats to cybersecurity and a growing trend in technonationalism.

This publication identifies the building blocks for TradeTech policy adoption: the 5 Gs of TradeTech. Trade agreements and plurilateral initiatives are exploring the interplay between technology and trade and can benefit from considering these blocks to drive global adoption and scalability.

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