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UAE launches Trade Tech Initiative at the World Economic Forum

Davos

The UAE has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the World Economic Forum during its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, to support the UAE’s new Trade Tech Initiative, which is designed to accelerate the digitization of international supply chains, enhance customs procedures, improve developing countries’ access to the global trading system and, as a result, spur a new era of trade growth.

From the UAE’s side, the MoU was jointly signed by HE Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and HE Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) and Klaus Schwab,  Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum. The agreement will support the UAE’s efforts to deliver the initiative’s four key components: a global forum to gather trade, industry and technology leaders to share best-practice; an annual research report into the trade tech landscape, real-life applications and emerging trends; a regulatory sandbox to enable companies and startups to experiment with trade-tech innovations; and an incubator for promising startups in the trade tech space.

From the UAE’s side, the MoU was jointly signed by HE Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade and HE Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) and Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum.

HE Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi said: “The Trade Tech Initiative is a crucial step in modernizing global trade, using the tools of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0) to reduce the cumbersome and inefficient paper-based processes that continue to dominate supply chains. “The UAE has emerged as a vocal champion of trade innovation and, at a time when global supply chains are still recovering from the impact of the pandemic, we believe it is essential to harness the benefits of advanced technology to catalyze global trade. From using artificial intelligence to automate customs processes and warehouse management to deploying blockchain to revolutionize trade finance, cross-border payments, and know-your-customer procedures, the potential for enhancement is limitless.

“International buy-in and regulatory frameworks are essential for these ideas to take root and our partnership with the World Economic Forum is a vital first step in realizing the goals of the Trade Tech Initiative. In 2024, the UAE will host MC13, the leading decision-making body of the World Trade Organisation, and we are determined to build consensus over the next 12 months to begin pioneering a new era of fully digitized, operationally efficient global trade.”

HE Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa said: “The UAE has a strong track record in developing and deploying innovative technologies to enhance efficiencies in the trade process. Forming an important complementary extension to the federal system, Abu Dhabi’s continuously evolving trade facilitation solutions simplify procedures, reduce time and cost, and increase trade volumes. A typical example is our Advanced Trade & Logistics Platform (ATLP), the one-stop-shop for all trade operations. The emirate utilizes advanced technology such as AI-powered systems to enable traders facilitate their import and export transactions.

“We believe The UAE’s new Trade Tech Initiative further strengthens our efforts to enable traders to export and import seamlessly by accelerating the digitization of supply chains, and enhancing customs procedures,” HE Al Shorafa added.

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023 in Davos took place under the theme “Cooperation in a Fragmented World” and brought together more than 2,700 government and business leaders to engage in constructive, forward-looking dialogues and help find solutions through public-private cooperation.

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