Brazilian businessman proposes free-trade tech initiative at WTO

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – A Brazilian business leader urged a World Trade Organization forum on Wednesday to use a technology initiative to help smaller firms gain better access to global commerce and trade.

The Intelligent Tech & Trade Initiative (ITTI), presented on Wednesday by Daniel Feffer, president of the International Chamber of Commerce-Brazil, and Columbia University professor Marcos Troyjo, examines how cutting-edge technologies, including blockchain and cognitive computing, can help with negotiations.

In a phone interview with Reuters, Feffer said the initiative wants to help diplomats, business leaders, technology firms and scholars use technologies to help create applications opening trade to smaller firms, for instance, he said.

“Augmented intelligence, blockchain, all this, if put together in the best form possible after an ample debate, should boost trade growth and become an inclusive tool for small- and medium-sized industries struggling with protectionism or simply scant access to global commerce,” Feffer said from Geneva, where the WTO forum is taking place.

The initiative comes as the rise of populism in large and small economies threaten to erode support for free trade. Since its launch in 1995, the WTO has become the main venue for resolving trade disputes and spurring free commerce between countries.

The ITTI forms part of a broad venture gathering different governments, multilateral institutions and companies trying to make use of cognitive technology platforms to improve living standards and spur entrepreneurship.

Feffer is a member of the family that controls Suzano Papel & Celulose SA, Brazil’s No. 2 pulp maker.

Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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