THE World Economic Forum (WEF) recently said in a report that the pandemic has unveiled the power of digital technology to make global trade smoother and safer, and three emerging digital systems and tools are seen to help unlock the huge opportunities offered by digital trade.
The first one is a “digital ID system” where instead of using paper documents like passports and driving licenses, they can verify identities remotely over digital channels. They can also be used to authenticate not just users electronically, but physical and digital objects as well so products can be tracked all the way from raw material to shelf.
The WEF said digital IDs, which can apply to people, organizations or things, are now critical to a wide range of international trade transactions and processes.
In the Philippines, there have been repeated calls to update the Electronic Commerce (E-Commerce) Act in order to ease the requirements for the recognition of electronic and digital signatures and facilitate cross-border paperless trade.
The second emerging digital trend globally is the rise of digital trade agreements, a package of measures between governments designed to make trade easier in the digital age.
“Digital trade agreements can help countries sync their regulatory frameworks and improve data sharing and cybersecurity,” the WEF said.
For example, according to the Forum, the United Kingdom signed a digital trade deal with Singapore that includes shared digital systems for e-invoicing, e-payments and other electronic documents. Its government said the deal would “end outdated rules” for exporters of goods and services, cut costs and “pave the way for [a] new era of modern trade.”
Finally, another digital trade enabler is non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which give any kind of information a unique digital signature that can’t be altered or faked, providing a form of secure digital ownership.
“The benefits of NFTs range from protecting sensitive information, such as that on the invoice or bill of lading, to enabling transparent, seamless automated trade. NFTs essentially streamline international trade by removing document fraud and the need for multiple regulations and human interventions along supply chains,” the WEF noted.