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Intl Chamber appoints leader for digital standards

container ship trade

Today, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) announced the operational launch of its Digital Standards Initiative (DSI) and a full-time managing director’s appointment. Oswald Kuyler, former Head of Data Strategy at mining giant BHP, takes the reigns.

The DSI aims to create standards across data, technical platforms including blockchains, as well as legal frameworks. 

To get going, it has been seed funded by the Government of Singapore and the Asian Development Bank is based in Singapore.

“Digitisation is critical to strengthen the global trade and supply chains that create jobs, development and prosperity,” said Steven Beck, Head of Trade and Supply Chain Finance at the Asian Development Bank.

The project was initiated as the Universal Trade Network by trade finance blockchain Marco Polo, TradeIX and R3. A year ago at the SIBOS banking conference, it was announced that the ICC would be taking over the project as a neutral body, and the ICC formally unveiled the project this March.

The pandemic has emphasized the need for digitization, but many jurisdictions still legally require paperwork. That’s something the ICC highlighted as an issue at the peak of the lockdown.

“COVID-19 has clearly exposed the inherent fragility of global trade’s reliance on paper- based processes,” said ICC Secretary General, John Denton. “A resilient rebuild from the crisis must be built on wholesale digitisation of global trade ecosystem – a process we believe the ICC Digital Standards Initiative is uniquely placed to drive.”

Meanwhile, Enterprise Singapore and Singapore’s IMDA are also backers of the TradeTrust initiative alongside the ICC, aiming to eliminate paper based processes and adopt blockchain. It has created a network to enable trading parties to synchronize data.