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Executive Insights with Pamela Mar of ICC DSI on Digital Standards in Global Trade

As we have seen in the recent past, there has been a lot of realization and understanding in the industry about the crucial role that data and document standards play in the shipping, freight, and global trade industries..

Data and document standards are helping the industry to streamline operations, enhance transparency, improve efficiency, and drive digital transformation..

The importance of these standards cannot be overstated, as they directly impact the effectiveness and reliability of the global supply chain..

Shipping and Freight Resource caught up with Pamela Mar, Managing Director of the International Chamber of Commerce’s Digital Standards Initiative (#ICCDSI) fresh from the successful launch of the Final Report on the Key Trade Documents and Data Elements (KTDDE) in London..

The ICC DSI is a global initiative based in Singapore, backed by an international Governance Board comprising leaders from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Enterprise Singapore, the Asian Development Bank, the World Trade Organisation, and the World Customs Organisation..

SFR: Congratulations on the launch of the KTDDE project, Pamela.. Could you start by explaining the mission and objectives of this initiative..??

PM: Thank you! The KTDDE project is focused on simplicity, standardization, and alignment in digital trade standards. Our goal is to create an integrated, open digital trade ecosystem where plug-and-play data sharing is the norm.

This requires a unified approach to standards and data terms. This initiative brings together various stakeholders to commit to interoperability and data alignment, enhancing the speed, traceability, and transparency of the global trading system.

SFR: How do you envision the KTDDE project transforming day-to-day operations in international trade..?? 

PM: KTDDE provides a foundational guide for digital trade documentation and compliance, making it easier for companies to know where to start their digital transition. By adopting the 21 documents that are already harmonized, businesses can achieve interoperability, secure their core data elements first, and connect their operations more effectively across the global supply chain.

This initiative serves as a blueprint for both businesses and trade platforms, aiming to simplify and streamline digital trade practices.

SFR: What immediate benefits can businesses expect from adopting the KTDDE standards..??

PM: Businesses will see significant improvements in operational efficiency and data management. By adopting harmonized documents, companies can reduce time spent on documentation and enhance visibility throughout the supply chain. This leads to faster transactions and better compliance with international trade regulations.

Businesses will experience enhanced operational efficiency and better data management. By adopting documents that have already been harmonized businesses can reduce the administrative burden and improve compliance with international trade regulations. This leads to quicker transactions and increased supply chain visibility, ultimately providing a significant competitive advantage in the global market.

SFR: With the transition from traditional paper-based systems to digital, how does the KTDDE framework promote inclusivity and accessibility for smaller market players..??

PM: The KTDDE framework is especially beneficial for SMEs who may not have the resources that larger corporations do. It provides a clear roadmap and tools that simplify digital trade, allowing smaller players to compete on a more level playing field. Our reliability assessment for trade platforms also helps SMEs choose the right partners and platforms, reducing the complexity of going digital.

SFR: What are the next steps for ICC DSI following the launch of the KTDDE report..??

PM: Our focus now is on driving the adoption of these standards. We are working to create a supportive trade ecosystem that facilitates easy adoption and helps stakeholders realize the benefits of digital trade. This includes continued collaboration with industry experts and over 50 organizations to refine and promote these standards globally.

SFR: Can you elaborate on the role of emerging technologies like blockchain and AI in the future strategy of ICC DSI, particularly in terms of enhancing trade document interoperability..??

PM: Emerging technologies like blockchain, AI, and digital identity are crucial for the secure transmission of data and ensuring its integrity across the trade lifecycle. These technologies will help manage data trails and support digital identity verification, making them integral to our strategy for enhancing document standards and processes. This will enable more seamless connections across the global trade ecosystem.

SFR: How do you see the role of international communities in the development and adoption of these standards..??

PM: International communities, including governments and trade bodies, play a vital role in raising awareness and facilitating the adoption of digital trade standards. By sharing success stories and supporting pilot projects, they can help businesses understand the benefits of digital trade and encourage a proactive approach to adoption.

SFR: Finally, what is your vision for the impact of digital standardization on the global economic landscape..??

PM: I envision a world where digital trade is not just a possibility but a reality. Digital standardization has the potential to transform the global economic landscape by making trade more accessible, efficient, and secure.

It can close the trade finance gap for SMEs, particularly for SMEs, by providing reliable data for credit assessments and enabling easier compliance with KYC and AML regulations. Ultimately, digital trade standardization will support the growth of a more resilient and inclusive global economy.

Thank you, Pamela, for your insightful contributions to digital standardization and for sharing your expertise.. Your efforts have paved the way for a more interconnected and efficient global trade environment..

Watch the Executive Insights video with Pamela Mar – MD of ICC DSI..

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Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiar
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..


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