The report presents a framework for using blockchain technology to facilitate trade in single windows – or one-stop electronic platforms – where registered users submit import and export documents.
Single windows increase exports and gross domestic products and improve transparency and user experience.
As of 2017, 27 countries had full electronic single windows and 36 had a partial single window. Yet challenges remain to improve effectiveness and implementation.
The technology offers benefits such as:
- Interoperability: with improved visibility to manage risks, recognize patterns, conduct pre-arrival processing, share data and improve user experience
- Traceability: enabling more complete data on shipments, supply chains and audit trails by bringing together single windows and/or private sector trade intermediaries on a common blockchain
- Automated processes: automated payments and reconciliation to accelerate revenue collection
- Reliability of data: ensuring that data is fixed and providing single-window users with unique identities so that they allocate relevant parts of their identities to third-party service providers
“This framework closes the governance gap, separates hype from reality, and enables policy-makers to make informed decisions on leveraging blockchain to facilitate international trade.”
The report outlines key questions to ask while developing governance structures and suggests what actions to consider.
Countries require an understanding of how data is shared, which technologies are used and where the blockchain application will be managed.
Since most decisions flow from the governance structure, this first step will ensure interoperability across borders.
“We hope this policy framework developed jointly by the Forum and the IDB becomes the starting point for governments to use blockchain to facilitate trade.”