World Economic Forum to Advance Improved Trade through Technology at MC13

22 Feb 2024

World Economic Forum,

  • A new TradeTech Forum, held alongside the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organization, will bring together policymakers and technology innovators to collaborate on trade-supporting technology
  • The gathering will build on discussions from Davos on how to improve the global trade system and accelerate e-commerce, investment and sustainable trade at MC13
  • The TradeTech Forum will take place on 27 February 2024 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • Learn more about the TradeTech Forum here

Geneva, Switzerland, 22 February 2024 – The World Economic Forum will convene 300 ministers, business leaders, trade leaders and experts, as well as civil society, to examine the use of cutting-edge technologies in trade. The TradeTech Forum 2024 is the first-of-its-kind dedicated gathering on technologies for trade and will take place in the same venue as the World Trade Organization 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13).

The TradeTech Forum is hosted together with the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Economy and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development. It draws on the TradeTech Global initiative, housed at the World Economic Forum, that strives to revolutionise global trade by piloting new technologies in trade and exploring policy and business models.

“It’s time to revitalise trade and this includes the urgent need to understand and integrate new technologies,” said Børge Brende, President, World Economic Forum. “MC13 and the TradeTech Forum give us the opportunity to build on the work done in Davos to accelerate technology deployment. That can drive a trade recovery and get us out of the trap of ‘slowbalization’.”

The discussions in Abu Dhabi will follow on from the Forum’s Annual Meeting 2024 in Davos where participants considered strategies for upgrading the trade system to meet present needs. Forum communities have advocated for a functioning rules-based global trade system and are looking for outcomes on investment facilitation, e-commerce and sustainable trade, among others, at MC13.

Panel discussions and roundtables at the TradeTech Forum will focus on how technologies could make trade more sustainable, inclusive and development-oriented. That includes helping companies efficiently navigate and comply with new regulatory or consumer requirements for supply chain resilience and transparency. Another focus will be on deploying technology to facilitate trade processes in developing economies and address trade finance gaps, particularly for small businesses.

TradeTech complements MC13 negotiations by supporting practical acceleration of trade reforms. The World Economic Forum’s long experience of helping to implement trade facilitation around the world illustrates how public-private collaboration can improve trade.

A TradeTech Fair will showcase trade innovators as well as collaborative coalitions working to overcome network barriers to scaling new trade technology globally.

Members of the media accredited for MC13 are invited to attend the sessions. The opening plenary will be accessible to members of the media and the public, on 27 February at 09.30, via this livestream.

Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade and Chair of MC13, said: “Technology has the potential to positively impact every link in global supply chains, from automated customs checks to AI-directed inventory management systems. It can also expand the reach of trade, enabling smaller nations and SMEs to participate in the global trading system equitably and securely.

“The TradeTech Forum is an opportunity for global trade leaders to share insights, explore areas of collaboration and collectively shape the future of global trade. I look forward to constructive and insightful discussions that will help pave the way for smarter, cleaner and more inclusive supply chains."

Programme focus areas and thematic highlights

The following topics will be covered at the TradeTech Forum:

  • 10.00 – 11.00: Panel Discussion – How Do We Boost the TradeTech Ecosystem?
  • 11.00 – 12.00: Workshop – TradeTech Futures Lab: Shaping Inclusive, Efficient and Sustainable Global Trade
  • 13.30 – 14.15: Interviews – The Thinker, the Innovator and the Builder
  • 14.15 – 15.15: Roundtable – The Future of Trade: How Trusted AI Will Drive Trade Transformation
  • 15.45 – 16.30: Panel Discussion – MC13 meets TradeTech: The Role of International Policies in Advancing Inclusive and Sustainable Trade through Technology
  • 16.30 – 17.15: Panel Discussion – From Vision to Action: Building Coalitions for a Global TradeTech Boom
  • 17.15 – 17.45: Closing Remarks – Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, UAE and Børge Brende, President, World Economic Forum

Interview an expert

Members of the media are encouraged to contact Trevor Chueu, Media Engagement, World Economic Forum, by email at to express interest in speaking to or interviewing a Forum expert on the TradeTech Forum or on topics at MC13. The press can learn more about the spokespeople and their areas of expertise here.

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All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.

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