Trade has always been shaped by technology but the rapid development of digital technologies in recent times has the potential to transform international trade profoundly in the years to come.  The Fourth Industrial Revolution – associated with rapid technological change and digitalization – has already had a profound impact on the way we trade.

Data flows and digital services delivery, particularly across borders, are also playing a critical role in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic response. Globalization has entered a new phase, driven by the rise of digital (data and information) flows, raising new questions for the WTO, and global economic and trade governance. India and other emerging markets need to fully engage in developing universal standards conducive to innovation, productivity, and growth.

Freight forwarders and shippers can book sea, land, and air cargo shipments to and from anywhere in the world with the rollout of DP World’s online logistics tools and services. The company accelerated the launch to help shippers navigate the COVID-19 crisis and keep trade—particularly essential food and medical supplies—flowing.

The new digital trade and logistics platforms use DP World’s global network of ports, terminals, and economic zones to offer end-to-end supply chain services. The initiative follows DP World’s acquisition of,, and, platforms that enable shippers to transport cargo worldwide.

In response, the Forum’s Digital Trade initiative brings policymakers, experts and business together to:

  • Accelerate e-commerce trade preparedness to benefit small businesses and developing economies
  • Build interoperability for global data flows, including through trade frameworks and regulatory cooperation
  • Map new trade technologies – including cloud services, DLT and 3D printing – and driving discussion on policies to balance gains versus risks
  • Support the international functionality of payment systems and related supply chain information flow
  • Explore the effects and requirements of rapidly expanding digital trade in service

The expansion of digital trade is likely to entail considerable benefits but that international cooperation is needed to help governments ensure that digital trade continues to be an engine of inclusive economic development.