The World Trade Board, a group of trade experts formed at the World Trade Symposium in June to push a harmonised global trade agenda among policymakers and the private sector, has announced three areas of focus: digitisation, standardisation and SME finance.

In a release published at the start of Sibos, the board unveils three initiatives meant to drive the trade finance agenda: working with the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) to drive greater adoption of its system, designed to unambiguously identify participants in financial transactions; pushing blockchain education, standardisation and adoption through a blockchain working group; and partnering with the World SME Forum to help SMEs engage successfully in international markets.

Steven Beck, member of the World Trade Board and head of trade finance at the Asian Development Bank, explains: “Many of the barriers to global trade and access to finance can be addressed with technology. The success of these initiatives and our ability to address impediments to trade through financial technology is largely based on our ability to easily, accurately and efficiently find, track and validate information – about individuals, businesses and goods too. Following the success and ambition of the first World Trade Symposium, it is time to turn talk into action.”

Simon Paris, co-chair of the World Trade Board and president at Misys, adds: “Through a greater integration of trade, finance and technology we can facilitate improvements in transparency, the adoption of harmonised standards and incentives that can help trade realise its potential as a force for transformation. The initiatives outlined are designed with this in mind. There is no better time for the stakeholders in global trade to unite under a common goal – to improve people’s lives.”