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The World Economic Forum is set to host the inaugural TradeTech Forum 2024, where 300 ministers, industry leaders, trade professionals, and representatives from civil society will discuss the integration of advanced technologies into trade. 

This event is scheduled for 27 February, coinciding with the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (MC13).

Organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Economy of the United Arab Emirates and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, the forum is part of the broader TradeTech Global initiative based at the World Economic Forum. 

This initiative aims to transform international trade through the trial of innovative technologies and the examination of their implications for policies and business models.

Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum, said, “It’s time to revitalise trade and this includes the urgent need to understand and integrate new technologies. MC13 and the TradeTech Forum give us the opportunity to build on the work done in Davos to accelerate technology deployment. That can drive a trade recovery and get us out of the trap of ‘slowbalization’.”

The discussions in Abu Dhabi will build upon the deliberations at the Forum’s Annual Meeting 2024 in Davos, focusing on modernising the trade infrastructure to address current challenges. 

The forum’s communities are advocating for a robust rules-based international trade system, with hopes for significant outcomes in areas such as investment facilitation, e-commerce, and sustainable trade during MC13.

The TradeTech Forum will feature panel discussions and roundtables examining the role of technology in fostering a more sustainable, inclusive, and development-focused trade environment. 

This includes exploring ways to assist businesses in meeting new regulatory and consumer demands for supply chain resilience and transparency. The forum will also look at technological solutions to streamline trade processes in developing countries and bridge the trade finance gap for small enterprises.

In tandem with the MC13 negotiations, TradeTech aims to expedite trade reforms through practical measures. The World Economic Forum’s extensive experience in facilitating trade globally underscores the benefits of public-private partnerships in enhancing trade efficiency.

A TradeTech Fair will also be held to display innovations in trade and collaborative efforts aimed at overcoming obstacles to the global scaling of new trade technologies.

Media members accredited for MC13 are encouraged to participate in the sessions, with the opening plenary open to both the press and the public on 27 February at 09:30, available via livestream.

Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade and Chair of MC13, expressed optimism about the potential of technology to revolutionise global supply chains, saying, “Technology has the potential to positively impact every link in global supply chains, from automated customs checks to AI-directed inventory management systems. It can also expand the reach of trade, enabling smaller nations and SMEs to participate in the global trading system equitably and securely. 

The TradeTech Forum is an opportunity for global trade leaders to share insights, explore areas of collaboration and collectively shape the future of global trade. I look forward to constructive and insightful discussions that will help pave the way for smarter, cleaner and more inclusive supply chains.”