The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently said in a report that the pandemic has unveiled the power of digital technology to make global trade smoother and more secure, and three emerging digital systems and tools are seen as helping to unlock the huge opportunities offered by digital commerce.
The first is a “digital ID system” where, instead of using paper documents like passports and driver’s licenses, they can verify identities remotely through digital channels. They can also be used to not only authenticate users electronically, but also physical and digital objects so that products can be tracked from raw material to shelf.
The WEF said digital identifiers, which can apply to people, organizations or things, are now essential to a wide range of international business transactions and processes.
“Digital ID systems are typically used by government agencies such as customs and business registration. But as commerce becomes more digital, so does the need for an ID system. that works globally across borders and not just in specific sectors,” the report says.
In the Philippines, there have been repeated calls to update the Electronic Commerce (e-Commerce) Act to relax requirements for recognizing electronic and digital signatures and to facilitate cross-border paperless trade.
The second emerging digital trend globally is the rise of digital trade agreements, a set of government-to-government measures aimed at facilitating trade in the digital age.
“Digital trade agreements can help countries synchronize their regulatory frameworks and improve data sharing and cybersecurity,” the WEF said.
For example, according to the Forum, the UK has signed a digital trade agreement with Singapore that includes shared digital systems for e-invoicing, e-payments and other e-documents. His government said the deal would “end outdated rules” for exporters of goods and services, cut costs and “pave the way for [a]new era of modern commerce.”
Finally, another enabler of digital commerce is non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which give any type of information a unique digital signature that cannot be altered or tampered with, providing a form of secure digital ownership.
“The benefits of NFTs range from the protection of sensitive information, such as that on the invoice or bill of lading, to the possibility of seamless and transparent automated trade. NFTs essentially streamline international trade by eliminating document fraud and need for multiple regulations and human interventions along supply chains,” the WEF noted.