Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

TFG are delighted to announce that we have partnered with ICC Academy’s CDTS course. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Academy, an educational arm of the ICC, have released a five-module course delineating key components of digitising trade and supply chain processes at scale. 

With the trade ecosystem increasingly shifting towards technological advancements, and a market saturated with options in which to digitise trade processes, it can be difficult to cut through the noise. 

The Certificate in Digital Trade Strategy (CDTS) is designed to portray a comprehensive picture of the necessary requirements for digitising trade and supply chain processes. 

TFG contributed to the course, mediating the discussion around key topics addressed. 

The course is targeted towards several different industries within the trade finance circles, including; shippers and carriers, fintechs, banks, and policymakers. 

The programme will delineate the relevant strategies for accelerating digitisation within supply chains, help in the adoption of a standards-based method––avoiding ‘digital islands’ in the process, and remove clunky or manual inefficiencies.

Overall, the result will see an uptick in faster, more secure, more environmentally ‘friendly’ initiatives.   

CDTS outline: a module-by-module overview

Those who take the course can expect to leave the process with a macro-understanding of various supply chain component parts applicable in trade. 

Below see a more detailed synopsis of module contents.

Module 1: the architecture of international trade and supply chains. 

This module will include a foundational walk-through of the trade process. The focus will be on: 

  • Complexity in trade 
  • The way trade processes are organised from a shippers and customers’ perspective
  • The way trade processes are organised from carriers, shippers, and port authorities’ perspective 
  • Banks’ internal and external interactions 

Module 2: critical challenges associated with digitising trade and trade finance

This module will tackle key hurdles and advantages of trade digitisation. The focus will be on: 

  • Digital trade and a trade data dictionary 
  • High level overview of the existing fintech landscape (video below)
  • The challenges and opportunities of digitisation from a banks’ perspective 
  • The ICC eRules and how they enable the digitisation of banks and corporates’ interactions 

Video: A high level overview of the tradetech space

The tradetech sector has seen extensive fluctuation over the course of 2022. Though COVID-19 catalysed an impressive acceleration of trade digitalisation, the situation has not all been positive. The fintech landscape has faced consistent challenges throughout this year, and forecasts for its future are not looking favourable.

These past months have been peppered with institution insolvencies, the most notable being that of’s––one of the world’s earliest and fastest-growing blockchain-based trade finance platforms. The frequency of such events taking place is arguably symptomatic of worsening market conditions, but this has not served to put off forward-thinking companies and institutions.

Watch on YouTube

Module 3 focuses on digital trade’s legal environment. The emphasis will be on: 

  • Current treatment of electronic transferable records (eTRs)
  • Overview of the Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR), the principles and core provisions
  • Early wins through G7 commitment. Increasing momentum aided by broad coalition under newly formed LRAB
  • Case study: reform opportunities by region and success stories
  • Practical guide to legal reform, economic studies and advocacy tools, the critical role of policy makers
  • Case study: UNESCAP Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific

Module 4: exchanging trade and supply chain data in a trusted environment

Module 4 will cover the transference of supply chain data in a trusted environment. The focus will be on: 

  • Corporate digital identity––the enabler of trust and transparency in digital trade
  • Digital identifiers for products and objects in the physical supply chain
  • DCSA eBL standards
  • BIMCO eBL standards
  • FIATA eFBL standards

Module 5: interoperability frameworks––putting it together

This module will examine the realities of interoperability, specifically: 

Video: Standards toolkit for cross-border paperless trade

The International Chamber of Commerce and the World Trade Organization have recently published the first-ever standards toolkit for paperless trade.

The toolkit draws on stakeholder consultations through ICC’s Digital Standards Initiative over the past year, emphasising that one of the primary barriers to the adoption of paperless processes is a lack of awareness of existing standards for digital trade.

Watch on YouTube

Final exam 

The culmination of all modules will be a 1 hour online assessment. This will give candidates the opportunity to test their new knowledge. 

All those that pass will receive a a digital certificate signed by the ICC Secretary General. 

Key take-aways 

The CDTS course will outline key themes that have increasingly inserted themselves into the conversation over the last few years. 

It is important to note that the digitisation of trade and supply chains is an ecosystem activity––Rome was not built in a day! 

The programme will help outline the building blocks needed to identify and implement the right roadmap.