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Trade and technology

Promoting the spread of AI to fuel Asia's trade

Published 13 February 2024

The use of AI is poised to double especially among Asian micro enterprises this year. But adoption of the technology on a broader scale would require policies to address regulatory fragmentation.

When OpenAI launched ChatGPT in November 2022, the world woke up to the power of artificial intelligence (AI). Yet, long before this technology began dominating headlines, economies and export driven businesses in the Asia-Pacific have utilized AI to scale their capabilities for designing new products and services, acquiring customers, managing supply chains, and much more. In the trade ecosystem, AI has been used to accelerate trade flows through ports, offering of trade finance, and improving logistics services.

Going forward, the application and cross-border interoperability of the many emerging AI governance models and associated laws would be critical for its successful deployment. But many challenges remain, in particular on areas around data privacy and transfer, copyright protection, and cybersecurity. In this paper, Research Fellow Kati Suominen assesses how AI is spreading in the Asia-Pacific region among firms and government agencies, and considers policy frameworks that would promote broad-based and safe use of AI.

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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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