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Digital trade

The smart trade revolution is here. What comes next?

Published 25 April 2023

Disruptive technologies are changing the way companies and nations trade. As ports, highways, and vessels become more autonomous, technology is driving billions of dollars’ worth of a reduction in the cost of moving goods and easing a major constraint to the growth of global commerce.

From 5G to cloud computing and artificial intelligence, the adoption of disruptive technologies is sweeping through the world’s trade ecosystem, carrying important implications for economies. Yet, so far there is little systematic analysis of the smart trade trend and its potential for enabling end-to-end trade from "port to porch".

In this paper, Research Fellow Kati Suominen takes stock of the expansion in the use of disruptive innovation. It also assesses the state and the efficiency and environmental gains from the smart trade revolution, which is quite well on the way in advanced economies and in a growing set of emerging markets.

To further scale technology adoption and reap trade and environmental dividends, Suominen identifies the need for new public-private partnerships in developing smart trade solutions, investments in cybersecurity, and skills development. Read more in the download.

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Kati Suominen is a Research Fellow at the Hinrich Foundation. She is the Founder and CEO of Nextrade Group that helps governments, multilateral development banks, and Fortune 500 technology companies enable trade through technology.

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