Global Trade and Blockchain Forum

New technologies are shaping the way we work and trade. One technology in particular, blockchain, keeps making the headlines. How transformative could this technology be for international trade? What is its potential and what are the challenges that come with its deployment?

Geneva, WTO Headquarters - Room CRI

The event will present various use cases that aim at facilitating international trade using blockchain, from trade finance, to transportation and logistics, border procedures, and agriculture. It will discuss how this technology can be used in IP intensive industries and what we can do to avoid creating unnecessary standards-related barriers to trade in blockchain and other emerging digital technologies. It will also explore the implications of the rise of blockchain and other digital technologies for developing countries and review what could be done to ensure that they reap the benefits that these technologies open. Finally, it will provide an opportunity to discuss the role of international organizations in promoting a regulatory and policy framework conducive to the deployment of this technology while mitigating the risks that may arise.

2 December 2019


Opening remarks

  • DG Azevêdo, WTO

10.20-10.45 - Keynote speech(es)


10.45-11.30 - Session 1

What is Blockchain and DLT?

This session will present the main characteristics of Blockchain.


  • Virginia Cram Martos, UN/CEFACT Domain Coordinator, International Trade Procedures Domain

11.30-13.00 - Session 2

Towards frictionless trade? The private sector perspective

International trade remains labour and paper-intensive. This session will explore how private sector companies are using the technology to remove frictions from international trade, with a particular focus on trade finance and transportation and logistics.


  • Deepesh Patel, Director of Partnerships and Marketing, Trade Finance Global



Lunch break

15.00-16.30 - Session 3

Facilitating commodity trade through blockchain

This session will focus on the use of blockchain technology in agriculture and agricultural trade. The blockchain technology might be a real game changer in the agricultural sector where it can be used for a range of purposes such as improving food traceability, speeding up transactions, facilitating access to credit, creating new market places or facilitating food transport. The use of this technology will therefore help to improve production, connect producers with buyers and smooth trade flows. The speakers will be looking at the different uses of this technology through specific examples.


  • tbc


  • Christopher Liguori, Digital Supply Chains & Enterprise Transformation, IBM
  • Vincent Minna, Director of Global Trade Commodity Solutions, Bunge
  • Petya Sechanova, Trade Execution Leader, Cargill
  • Douglas Court, Clients Relations Manager, Komgo
  • Speaker from China

16.30-18.00 - Session 4

Trade facilitation in action

Bureaucratic delays and inefficient border procedures continue to impose significant costs on businesses. Trade facilitation—the simplification, modernization and harmonization of export and import processes—has therefore emerged as a key focus of trade policy. Can the blockchain technology facilitate border procedures? This session will explore the opportunities that the technology could open and discuss various use cases.


  • Virginia Cram Martos, UN/CEFACT Domain Coordinator, International Trade Procedures Domain


3 December 2019

10.00-11.30 - Session 5

TBT, standards and digital trade: Blockchain and other emerging technologies

This session will explore linkages between trade, standards, the TBT Agreement, and emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems, with emphasis on Blockchain. It will focus on how to avoid creating unnecessary standards-related barriers to trade in these emerging technologies, including through regulatory cooperation and alignment to relevant international standards.


  • tbc


11.30-13.00 - Session 6

Blockchain and Intellectual property

Intellectual property protection, in particular patent protection, is crucial to the development and deployment of blockchain technology. In recent years, the number of patent applications for blockchain related innovations have been growing rapidly. Meanwhile blockchain technology is finding its applications in intellectual property protection and management, while its true potential has yet to be reached. This session will introduce the current patent landscape of blockchain related innovations, its trends and new challenges arising. It will present a few real-world applications of blockchain technology in IP intensive industries, that shows how these industries can benefit from blockchain technology in the future.


  • representative of IPD


  • Edward Eliott, IP information Officer, WIPO
  • Representative of the Australian delegation
  • Bart Verschoor, CEO, Seal
  • Representative of ConsenSys


Lunch break

15.00-16.30 - Session 7

From lagging behind to leapfrogging: Ensuring inclusive tech in developing world

The session will focus on current and future opportunities and challenges for strengthening the use of digital solutions, including the application of blockchain, in developing countries and the LDCs. It will provide an opportunity to explore regulatory precedents, concerns, and responses to the changes brought about by new technologies. The panel discussion will include the different roles of stakeholder groups and partnerships, and the alliances required for LDCs to benefit more fully from digital technologies


  • DiploFoundation (tbc)


  • Cosmas Zavazava, Chief of Projects and Knowledge Management Department, ITU (tbc)


  • Cristian Pauletto, Associate Professor, International University in Geneva
  • Quan Zhao, Trade Policy Advisor, International Trade Centre
  • ITU (tbc)
  • GSMA (tbc)

16.30-17.50 - Session 8

The way forward: What role for international trade cooperation? How best to promote an enabling policy environment?

This session will discuss governance and regulatory issues and explore the role of governments and international organizations in enabling the development of a policy environment conducive to the deployment of the technology in international trade. It will discuss potential follow-up actions.


  • Enrico Camerinelli, Senior Analyst at Aite group

Presentation of recommendations having emerged from the Global Trade and Blockchain platform (David Bischof, Deputy Director, Finance for Development, International Chamber of Commerce).


  • David Bischof, Deputy Director, Finance for Development, International Chamber of Commerce
  • Michelle Chivunga Nsanzumuco, Chair, International Committee, British Blockchain Association
  • Nicholas Niggli, Secrétaire général adjoint, République et Canton de Genève
  • Hanna Norberg, independent trade policy advisor and the founder of


Closing remarks

  • WTO Deputy-Director General Xiaozhun Yi


If you do not already have WTO accreditation, you are kindly requested to register here before Tuesday 26 November 12.00 pm.

Please note that the number of seats reserved for non WTO Members is limited. We will confirm your registration depending on the availability of seats.

Participants without WTO accreditation need to go to the Welcome Pavilion where a badge will be delivered against a passport or an official identity card. Please allow yourself an extra 20 minutes for completion of security and registration procedures.

Published in 2018

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