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Blockchains in Trade Logistics - Implications for developing country integration in global supply chains

  • Room XXVI UN Geneva Geneva Switzerland (map)

Blockchain technologies, or distributed ledger technologies, have developed rapidly over the past few years, promising traditional financial services and business processes at much lower cost and with greater speed, security and transparency. Many traditional industries are exploring this new technology, and some have already started to apply it to their business processes.
In the area of supply chain management and logistics, blockchains could increase accuracy, traceability and transparency through data integrity, simplification, increased security, multi-use big data and guaranteed confidentiality. However, they can also present major challenges, both technical and non- technological. These include aligning different suppliers and systems, fraud, verification of transactions and data confidentiality. 

For developing countries, blockchains could provide an opportunity to leapfrog traditional technologies and practices in trade, logistic and supply chain management. At the same time, they may run the risk of being left behind if they are not able to adapt to changing international practices.
If successful, blockchains could influence trade policy and regulation and lead to new standards for the way global trade is conducted. This session will bring about a better understanding of the potential impact of blockchain technologies in supply chain management and logistics, with a special focus on challenges and opportunities for developing countries to integrate in the global trade system.

The session will cover some of the following topics: 
• Given the potential disruptive impact of blockchain technologies on trade logistics, who will be likely winners and losers? And more specifically, what are the key challenges and opportunities for developing countries’ integration in global trade systems?
• How will blockchain technologies affect global supply chain management?
o How to guarantee interoperability and global standards for new technologies and systems?
o How to promote technological innovation, while avoiding monopolistic outcomes?

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