Regulatory work needed to enhance trade impact of blockchain technologies: WTO

GENEVA, WTO Deputy Director-General, Yi Xiaozhun, said that policy action and coordination among key stakeholders are necessary to realise the potential of blockchain technology to transform international trade.

In his opening remarks at the Global Trade and Blockchain Forum here today, Xiaozhun also announced the launch of a new publication on blockchain. Last year, the WTO launched its first publication on this topic titled, “Can Blockchain Revolutionise International Trade?”

This year, we decided to upgrade the event into a two-day conference to deep dive into a technology that is seen by many as a potential game-changer for international trade, said Xiaozhun.

‘Today, we are launching a new publication with the Trade Finance Global and the International Chamber of Commerce that provides an overview of the main projects underway in trade, with a focus on trade finance, shipping, and the digitalisation of trade documents,” he explained.

”Based on a survey of more than 200 actors in the field, this publication discusses the key challenges that companies involved in blockchain trade-related projects are facing and discusses the action that may need to be taken to allow the technology to truly transform international trade. The publication also provides an estimate of the stages of maturity of the various projects listed,” he added.

Practitioners in the field will speak about some of these projects, the opportunities they open for international trade, and the challenges that need to be addressed.

Keynote speakers, including Dr. Marwan Alzarouni, Member of the Dubai Future Council for Blockchain Technology and CEO of the Dubai Blockchain Centre, will share their vision of blockchain from a public perspective.

Blockchain, Xiaozhun added, can accelerate the digitalisation of international trade, but it can only do so if the legislative framework allows for transactions to be carried out through digital means and if those transactions are recognised as legal and valid.

“No doubt, blockchain opens interesting opportunities. But it also raises legal, regulatory and policy issues that deserve our attention � that deserve the attention of all the stakeholders,” he further added.

The forum, which brings together a broad range of actors, including trade officials and policymakers, large and small companies, tech companies, business associations, and representatives of other international organisations is an attempt to foster discussions on these issues at a cross-sectoral level with the wider community.

Discussions will cover a wide range of issues from agriculture, to transportation, trade facilitation, standards, trade finance and inclusiveness.

Source: Emirates News Agency