A standards toolkit for cross-border paperless trade

Story by Hannah Nguyen, Director - Digital Ecosystems, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Digital Standards Initiative.

Global trade is the backbone of the world economy, valued at US $28 trillion in 2021. Despite its importance, trading across borders remains a notoriously complex process which is highly dependent on paper documents.

While a cross-border transaction involves multiple actors and requires the exchange of 36 documents and 240 copies on average, fewer than one percent of trade documents are fully digitised.

GS1 is collaborating with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) on their Digital Standards Initiative with the WTO. The aim is to equip every supply chain participant with a tool kit of global interoperable standards (including GS1’s product and location identifiers) to help enable a future of secure, trusted and seamless trade connectivity. The toolkit provides a starting point to guide users (importers and exporters, logistics companies and customs authorities) in their adoption of existing standards in order to reduce costs and complexity.

“Our objective is to equip every supply chain participant with some of the most notable and widely used standards to help push trade digitisation to the next level.”

– Emmanuelle Ganne, World Trade Organization (WTO).