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Inaugural World Trade Symposium Calls for Action to Improve Efficiencies and Stimulate Growth in World Trade

Delegates attending the inaugural World Trade Symposium – held in London from 7-8 June 2016 and co-organised by Misys and the Financial Times – are calling for a number of actions to facilitate and expand global trade with a view to supporting long-term economic growth and prosperity for people across the world. The Symposium brought together global leaders, innovative thinkers, influencers and subject matter experts from different corners of trade and commerce, including banks, corporates, industry bodies and not-for-profits, to share their views and recommendations for delivering on a common vision of collaborative, connected, inclusive trade and finance, built on the latest technologies.

In his opening keynote Roberto Azevêdo, Director General of the World Trade Organisation shared his views on stimulating growth in world trade, stating that: “If trade is to continue supporting growth, we need to respond to the anti-trade rhetoric that is becoming commonplace and recognise that in recent years, trade has helped to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty — in a way which you just don’t see in closed economies.”

Simon Paris, Co-Chair of the World Trade Board and President at Misys, noted: “Through the World Trade Symposium we’ve created a forum where we can discuss the agenda for change and put initiatives in place to help shape how global trade will look in coming years. The World Trade Board will provide regular updates including a flow of progress, specific actions and proposals, and an ever extended group of stakeholders. Together we can be a force for change. We can use trade, finance and technology to help improve people’s lives and make financial inclusion a reality.”

Summing up the discussions on the first day of the Symposium, Simon noted that to make international trade work better, we must be conscious of:

Closing the inequality gaps created by globalisation;
Reviewing the unintended consequences of regulation such as KYC and AML;
Getting trade agreements ratified and in place (such as TFA and SITA) – with TFA expected to reduce total trade costs by over 14 per cent for low-income countries
Making it easier for SMEs to trade across borders (such as raising the value for duty free imports)
Ensuring the fair distribution of value to producers through Fair Trade; and
Preparing for trade in a new world, with the growth in digitalisation and servicification.

Specific recommendations from the working groups at the Symposium included calls for:

Greater collaboration and sharing of best practise between regulators and industry bodies across borders – to deliver greater harmonisation and a more level playing field based on global standards;
Establishment of an international body that creates an environment that incentivises industry participants and banks to deploy new technologies and global standards that deliver efficiencies and cost savings that will benefit all over the long term;
The World Trade Board (or a sub-group) to take an active role in educating the industry about the potential benefits and use cases of blockchain in global trade and trade finance; and

Initiatives to support SMEs – giving them access to information in areas such as regulation and trade finance, so they can access international markets more easily.