Geneva Conference on Facilitating Trade in the Digital Economy

The ICC attracted more than 125 participants from 24 countries.
The ICC attracted more than 125 participants from 24 countries.

Business and government representatives from around the world came together in Geneva on April 8 and 9 to investigate how electronic systems can replace paper-based trade and administrative processes in key business areas such as customs, taxation and public procurement.

Leading experts from governments in emerging and industrialized markets, companies, law firms, and business and intergovernmental organizations gathered to share their vision on how stakeholders can work together to develop Internet governance, and apply practical standards and principles needed for efficient paperless trade.

“A more coordinated international approach to digital interactions would improve trade flows considerably,” stated ICC Secretary General Jean-Guy Carrier in opening the conference, a timely follow-up to a March 10 USCIB/OECD conference in Washington, D.C. focusing on growth, jobs and prosperity in the digital age.

The overriding conviction shared by conference participants was that paperless trade can help governments and companies reap substantial savings, while increasing the security of transactions and contributing to economic growth and social development.

Statistically speaking, paperless trade was said to increase productivity by more than 20 percent on average. However, this represents only part of the potential savings, the lack of coordination among regulators using different approaches to control digital trade continue to hamper solutions that could make massive savings available to all parties through improved efficiency in e-customs, e-public procurement and e-tax.

“Governments worldwide use ICT to work more effectively with business,” said Joseph Alhadeff (Oracle), chair of ICC’s Commission on the Digital Economy. “Regulations and processes, however, often vary, even within countries, meaning that the ways in which countries approach electronic trade procedures and e-government is increasing in variety and complexity.

“This comes with its own set of challenges and results in many different – and often conflicting – approaches to the ways businesses and governments interact electronically. Business and government regulators need to collaborate and coordinate more effectively in order to improve electronic trade procedures in a mutually beneficial way.”

Read more on ICC’s website.

Staff contacts: Barbara Wanner

More on USCIB’s Information, Communication and Technology Committee

Staff Contact:   Barbara Wanner

VP, ICT Policy & Managing Director, Washington Office
Tel: 202.617.3155

Barbara Wanner directs USCIB’s work on information, communications and technology issues. She works with members and government officials on a wide range of international business issue that include advocating for the continuation of the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance and for policies aimed at promoting the stability, openness and innovative flexibility of the Internet. She represents USCIB members’ interests in several international forums, including the UN, APEC and the OECD.
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