Trade In The New Digital World – Technology

United States:

Trade In The New Digital World

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Introduction:  This article describes how
digitization of information and development of new tools and
equipment is expanding to improve efficiency, productivity, safety
and almost every aspect of the movement of goods.  The focus
is on how international organizations, national governments and
upgraded trade agreements are improving the ability to adopt
innovative technologies.

UN Suggestions for Adapting Global Value Chains to
The United Nations Centre for Trade
Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT)  proposed the
establishment of an Advisory Group on Advanced Technologies in
Trade and Logistics (AGAT), in order to advise and support the
UNECE secretariat and UN/CEFACT on advanced technologies in trade
facilitation and electronic business.  The technologies in
question include:

  • Distributed Ledger Technologies  (DLT)

  • Internet of Things(IoT)

  • Artificial Intelligence(AI)

  • Autonomous devices

  • New computational models – Cloud/Fog/Edge

  • Quantum computing

  • Connectivity of new generations (5G)

Recognition of Digitization in
The WTO legal framework lacks specific
provisions in some areas, particularly on customs procedures and
documentation, and on transparency. The spectacular increase in the
amount of goods traded worldwide in the last few years and the
advances in technology and the computerization of business
transactions  added a sense of urgency to the need to make the
rules more uniform, user-friendly and efficient.

Since at least 2016, the World Customs Organization is actively
promoting the adoption of digital tools. The WCO vision for the
future includes: paperless customs clearance as the norm,
supporting single window approaches to customs processing and
working with countries to develop advanced approaches in areas such
as improved compliance with sanitary and phytosanitary

The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) includes provisions on
digital trade that cover digital information and cross-border
transfers, but there is little in the agreement that fosters a
commitment to innovative digital tools. 

Some of the issues with digital trade are addressed in other new
regional agreements such as the Pacific Regional Comprehensive
Economic Partnership (RCEP), the CPTPP and the African Continental
Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), for example., However, these
agreements also lack commitments to innovation and use of digital
tools to upgrade the supply chain infrastructure.

Single Window Initiatives:  A single
window is defined as a facility that allows parties involved in
trade and transport to lodge standardized information and documents
with a single-entry point to fulfill all import, export, and
transit related-related regulatory requirements.  Requirements
vary by country for single window filing, bank transaction
documents, commercial docs, tracking ships and containers and
specific products, traceability, moving through multiple customs
environments (FTZ, bonded warehouse, enter and re-export, drawback,
rulings in multiple jurisdictions) and other important
transactional steps. 

The process of building out single window infrastructure 
 is not widely adopted in many countries and there is little
movement to integrate them globally.  They are basically
compatible at the 6-digit level in the Harmonized System, but the
movement to add compatibility across more information and
regulations will take years, if not decades, as each country
decides for itself how to approach this fundamental customs process
and what is included. 

ITC Digital Trade Studies: Technologies such as
cloud computing—the delivery of software and other computer
services via the internet—are transforming the provision of
information and communications technology (ICT) services. 
Internet technologies transformed how most goods and services in
the economy are produced by helping firms lower their costs and
operate more efficiently while giving consumers improved access to
a wider range of products and services.  Digital trade enabled
SMEs to overcome many of the impediments associated with exporting
that traditionally only larger firms could manage.

In addition, operating online  allows worldwide consumer
demand to fuel demand for SME exports of products and services. The
internet enables firms to improve logistics management, manage
supply chains more efficiently, introduce more efficient business
practices, increase market intelligence, gain greater access to
more markets and customers and develop additional channels for
service delivery.  

Food Safety & Technology Trends In 2021: 

  • Today, food manufacturers realize the need to integrate their
    existing ERP systems with a single comprehensive tech-solution that
    presents a dashboard of complex issues like safety, security,
    transparency, compliance across the siloes of field, factory,
    suppliers, payments to farmers, distributor network and retail to
    eventually provide field-to-fork data view of each and every
    product in their supply chain.

  • Farm automation will continue to grow steadily in the Agri-Food
    Supply Chains with the industry considering lesser dependence on
    manual labor.

  • The food chain is also in dire need of cobiotics, a technology
    that uses computer-controlled robots to communicate physically with
    humans and numerous other automation systems.

  • The use of drones in farm surveillance, seeding and various
    farming purposes, requires Blockchain technology that bars any
    alteration of data after recording. Big Data Analytics, Artificial
    Intelligence (AI) and countless other technologies are already
    implemented across the world.

  • Monitoring, evaluation and ROI are being deduced considering
    the ‘scale’ of farming plays a critical role; smaller lands
    versus the huge acres is where technology intervention needs to be

  • One of the chief motives of implementing cutting-edge
    technologies is to enhance food safety and reduce any risk of
    spoilage, wastage or contamination.

  • The FDA requires full transparency around a food or beverage
    product’s manufacturing practices and whereabouts in the supply
    chain, under the FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act), passed in

Summary and Conclusion:

The movement to improve international trade mechanisms and
systems with digital tools has clearly become a powerful force for
innovation.  International organizations need to work to
develop coherence and compatibility among the various tools and
bring nations together to truly use the power of these new
approaches.  There are many benefits to be derived from
digitization, including enhanced traceability, improved records,
and many others that are being built by innovative companies

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
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