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The ICC Digital Standards

Establishing a globally harmonised digital trade environment


The Digital Standards Initiative (DSI) is a global initiative based in Singapore, backed by an international Governance Board comprising leaders from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Enterprise Singapore, the Asian Development Bank, the World Trade Organisation and the World Customs Organisation.

The ICC Digital Standards Initiative aims to accelerate the development of a globally harmonised, digitalised trade environment, as a key enabler of dynamic, sustainable, inclusive growth. We engage the public sector to progress regulatory and institutional reform, and mobilise the private sector on standards harmonisation, adoption, and capacity building.

Why DSI ? 

Despite the advance of digital technologies, the vast majority of global trade and supply chains continue to rely on paper forms, analog processes and elementary forms of information exchange, conducted mainly through 40+ official and commercial trade documents.  


This manual data cycle is not only slow, labor intensive, and inefficient, but also prone to errors, inconsistencies, and fraud. While there is broad agreement across both the public and private sectors that digitalising trade could produce many benefits, the process is hampered by a multiplicity of data standards and approaches, as well as legal systems which do not yet fully recognise the validity of electronic records in trade.   


DSI was set up to address these two challenges on the road to a harmonized, digitalized global trading environment by 2026.  We aim to: 


Make trade faster, cheaper and more secure through digitization and automation​ 


Enable agility and resilience in supply chains, by improving the quality, timeliness and pooling of data across the entire trade environment​


Lower costs to serve, and bridge a persistent trade finance gap, particularly in the emerging markets*


Reduce fraud, regulatory non-compliance and illicit trade that arises due to opaque and non-transparent trade processes ​


Support sustainable trade by generating and joining up data related to environmental and social impact


Promote inclusion in trade by harmonising trade standards and forms so that even SMEs can navigate the cross-border landscape globally.

* Global Trade Finance Gap Widened to $2.5 Trillion in 2022, based on ADB 2023 Trade Finance Gaps, Growth, and Jobs Survey ​ 

Key Facts & Numbers


start of the oldest eBL system


jurisdictions have adopted the UNCITRAL MLETR 


current eBL adoption rate, up from 2.1% in 2022

US$6.5 billion

in documentation costs: could be saved if eBL is used instead of physical bills of lading 

US$30-40 billion

in global trade growth: waiting to be unlocked due to reduced trade frictions from eBL usage  

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