Report recommends digital trade centre in Tees Valley

Stephen Chapman's picture
by Stephen Chapman

A new report has been submitted to the government, making the case for a new digital trade centre based in Tees Valley.

Produced by academics at Teesside University, in consultation with industry leaders and government officials, it recommends a Centre for Digital Trade and Innovation (C4TDI).

“The United Kingdom has made some broad and ambitious commitments with regard to its net zero strategy and its goal to achieve the world’s most resilient and future-facing border by 2025,” explained Michael Short, Professor of Control Engineering and Systems Informatics, who led the report.

“We believe that, with its inherent skills base, infrastructure and transport/logistics links, the Tees Valley is perfectly situated to drive forward these ambitions and as a regional base for a C4DTI.

“At Teesside University we are committed to working alongside partners to drive forward the economic growth of this region and we are delighted to present this report and its findings.

“This roadmap, if put in place, can begin to steer UK digital trade policy and practice along the correct trajectory to achieving these goals.”

The scoping report - Digital Trade Technology and Policy: Barriers and Opportunities, looks at how digital technology can be deployed to smooth trade processes. It states that advances in technology, such as automation and artificial intelligence, coupled with changes to the traditional global supply chain model - accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic - have created “multiple opportunities for businesses to evolve their trading practices through the use of digital technology.”

“It makes the case well for the collaborative exploration of how technology and standards can combine to transform the way in which we in the UK do trade and manage supply chains," said Nick Davies, HMRC Technical Lead.

“The Centre will be the framework for that exploration, and I look forward to continuing to work with Teesside University, stakeholders in the region and across the UK and internationally to make that a reality.”

There are recommendations for a physical presence of a C4DTI in the Tees Valley and in London to help steer UK digital trade policy and practice.

“This report is welcome and a really helpful overview of the digital trade landscape in UK,” stated Chris Southworth, Secretary General of the International Chambers of Commerce (ICC) UK.

“Digital trade is more than just customs and borders. It’s about modernising the way we do trade, so the system is fit for purpose for the 21st century.

“We are on the cusp of a radical transformation of the trading system to make trade cheaper, faster, and simpler as well as more sustainable and inclusive.

“Success will depend on our ability to collaborate and work with others to remove regulatory and legal barriers and standardise trade systems and processes so we can connect and interoperate with the rest of the world. Leading by example, the UK is uniquely positioned to positively influence the world trade system.”

You can read the full report here.


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