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Block-chain for Trade Facilitation

20 April 2018

Room XXVI, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

Block-chain is an important technological development, which allows the creation of "original" electronic documents that cannot be copied and whose origin can be guaranteed - without using a trusted third party. It is a transformative technology. Until now, it has been mainly associated with cryptocurrencies (electronic money based on Block-chain technology) but it has also been piloted and implemented in other sectors including in supply-chain management, land registration and the delivery of food aid. It promises great potential for trade facilitation and, in particular, for the possibility of replacing original paper documents with “original” electronic documents. Effective trade facilitation signifies reliability and security of trade transactions. Block-chain may be able to offer a high level of confidence in these areas to both traders and regulators. But how far is this technology from being implemented and how realistic are the claims that have been made? And if Block-chain technology is as secure and “immutable” as claimed – why do we continue to read stories about hackers stealing millions of dollars/euros worth of cryptocurrencies? The event will be organized during the UNCTAD e-Commerce week.

The objective of this event is to develop a collective understanding on the potential of Block-chain technology for supporting trade facilitation. The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) has been analyzing the use of Block-chain technology for trade facilitation measures and how UN/CEFACT standards might be used in a Block-chain context. The private sector and a range of industry experts have been associated with this work. Examples in other sectors including in delivery of food aid or land registration could help better understand the application of block-chain in trade facilitation. In this session, UN/CEFACT as well as industry experts will share their experiences and priorities for utilizing Block-chain technology in trade facilitation and other relevant areas. Speakers will talk about the use of Block-chain in energy, food aid, finance and supply chains in general.

Target audience

  • Government officials from trade, information technology, finance and other relevant ministries/agencies and Permanent Missions to the UN and WTO in Geneva.
  • Private sector enterprises and their representatives.
  • Industry experts that are associated (or potentially associated) this technology
  • Potential users of Block-chain in all sectors of activity
  • All parties that have an interest in trade facilitation and e-trade.

The session is being organized by the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on 20 April 11.30-13.00 in room XXVI in the Palais des Nations during the UNCTAD e-Commerce week.

Agenda and Presentations

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11.30 – 11.35 Welcome remarks
Ivonne Higuero, Director
Economic Cooperation and Trade Division, UNECE
11.35 – 11.40 Video presentation on block-chain
11.40 – 11.50 UN/CEFACT white paper on block-chain and trade facilitation Virginia Cram-Martos, CEO, Triangularity, UN/CEFACT Domain Coordinator for Trade Procedures
11.50 – 12.05 Block-chain in the Supply Chain – use cases  Enrico Camerinelli, Senior Analyst, Aite Group, Italy
12.05 – 12.20 How can Block-chain help to end hunger?Giovanni Pio, Head, Global Change Management, World Food Programme
12.20 – 12.35 Block-chain solutions for the 3Ds of the energy industryJorge Alvarado, Manager – Consulting & Solutions, Swisscom Blockchain, Switzerland
12.35 – 12.50 Small business invoice financing innovation using block-chain  Steven Capell, CEO, GoSource Australia
12.50 – 13.00 Concluding remarks

For additional information
Please contact, Salehin Khan at +41 22 917 3227 or at khan.salehin@un.org