In 2020, ICC partnered with the Asian Development Bank and the Government of Singapore to launch Digital Standards Initiative (DSI).

This initiative aimed to establish a globally harmonised, digitalised trade environment, in line with goals to foster inclusion and opportunity for those involved in international supply chains.

Later on, the World Trade Organization and World Customs Organization joined the DSI Governance Board as observers to help shape the strategic engagements with governments and policymakers globally.

Now, ICC and Plexal, an innovation company, have come together to create the ICC Centre for Digital Trade and Innovation – a new centre for frictionless trade and digital trade policy innovation hub – supported by the Department for International Trade (DIT)Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and HM Revenue & Customs

The initiative will provide a forum to brainstorm and soundboard barriers/solutions to digital trade, as well as, commission research, pilot and test new approaches to trade. 

Its primary objective is to help tackle the proliferation of fragmented systems and the lack of any mechanism to connect them – one of the biggest challenges to trade digitisation

Chris Southworth, Secretary General, ICC United Kingdom, said: “The ICC Centre for Digital Trade and Innovation is a game-changer for UK trade.

“It will have all the capabilities we need across industry and government to better coordinate and connect initiatives and expertise to accelerate the digitalisation of trade. It will also play a key role in implementing the ICC Digital Standards Initiative framework of open systems, interoperable digital standards and aligned legal systems.

“Most importantly it will enable us to make trade cheaper, faster, simpler, sustainable and more secure for SMEs and global supply chains more resilient.”

Commenting on the launch, ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said: “Eighteen months since the ICC Digital Standards Initiative became operational, I am happy to see that the initiative has sparked a new wave of collaboration and innovation across the board.

“The FIT Alliance announced two months ago is an example of our deeply collaborative approach. I am pleased to see the formation of the UK Centre for Digital Trade and Innovation and proud to be a Global Knowledge Partner of the C4DTI to support the digital transformation of global trade through the promotion of internationally recognised standards.”

Hannah Nguyen, DSI Director – Digital Ecosystems said: “The formation of the UK Centre for Digital Trade and Innovation has the potential to rapidly accelerate the adoption of coherent standards in systems and processes on both the business and government side.

“Such efforts are important in bringing more stakeholders onboard the adoption journey and shining a spotlight on the practical implementation phase at local and regional level once international standards have been identified.”