Deal To Harness International Trade Technology

Brazilian ICC-UNCTAD Partnership Marks Second Phase of the Intelligent Tech and Trade Initiative

The Brazilian arm of the International Chamber of Commerce and UNCTAD have signed an agreement to work together to harness the power of cutting edge technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain to enhance and improve trade.

The memorandum of understanding between ICC Brasil and UNCTAD formalizes their cooperation within the Intelligent Tech and Trade Initiative (ITTI). Deploying fast-emerging technology in the trade sector was a headline issue at UNCTAD’s E-Commerce Week in April.

Under the agreement, UNCTAD and ICC Brasil will cooperate in a range of capacity-building, training, research and analysis activities. “Specific issues include the application of artificial intelligence and blockchain on international trade operations, trade logistics, transactions and negotiations,” said Shamika Sirimanne, Director of UNCTAD’s Division on Technology and Logistics.

ITTI was founded by ICC Brasil’s chairman, Daniel Feffer, last year. “Creating ITTI is an essential move that can drive trade beyond existing roadblocks. I’m certain blockchain and AI will boost trade growth. These technologies can help both small and medium-sized enterprises and emerging markets seize a bigger piece of the global trade pie,” said Feffer. “Deintermediation, trust and agile market access are made possible by these new technologies. My vision is that very instrumental tools, such as bringing the letter of credit to a 21st century blockchain-intensive marketplace, or modeling negotiation scenarios through AI, will enhance both transactions and trade agreements. But we’ve got to make sure they are inclusive of companies big and small, countries rich or emerging, so all can benefit from their extraordinary potential.”

ITTI is now entering its second phase after publishing a study looking at the applicability of technology in various scenarios. The collaboration with UNCTAD will explore the use of AI and blockchain in multilateral negotiations. UNCTAD’s expertise and database will be essential in helping the initiative build a prototype that could be used these complex negotiations. ITTI is also building, in a partnership with IBM, a prototype that will look into bilateral negotiations. As a first case, the prototype will use negotiations between the Mercosul trade bloc and Canada.

“This software will choose the best products the countries can offer their trade partners, indicating the optimal tariffs,” said Gabriel Petrus, Executive Director of ICC Brasil. “It is like a radar that pinpoints the best opportunities for each side. We are very excited to see the implementation of both of these prototypes.”