New technologies and their applications drive profound industrial and societal reorganization. Despite improved efficiency and aggregated enormous wealth associated with certain economic structure and business models as enabled by technologies, a constant issue has always been proper policy responses in dealing with negative externalities, including the alarming gap between rich and poor. Dramatic social reactions against trade and globalization are a good testimony of this kind of policy failure.
With the advent of disruptive technologies, rapid applications of foundational technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), and distributed ledger technologies (DLTs), will further alter the way industries operate and crash some fundamental concepts in existing trade policies. The challenge for the global trade community is keeping up with developments and harnessing the power of disruptive technologies and reflecting relevant adaptations in future trade rule-making and negotiations agenda, with a view to among other things achieving sustainable development. A few countries and regional integration schemes are already experimenting on innovating in this regard.
During the session, the participants had an interactive interdisciplinary exchange on the application of disruptive technologies and related business models at company level in international trade, at government level in the context of trade policy formulation and implementation, and emerging collaboration and potential issues at international level. The discussion also focused on opportunities and challenges for new and the existing global trade and investment frameworks, directions of the next generation of global trade policy, and their implications on inclusiveness and environmental sustainability.