Australian Government announces landmark Digital Trade Strategy 

Industry News May 10, 2022
Australian Government announces landmark Digital Trade Strategy 
NATA team

NATA welcomes the recent announcement by the Australian Government of the launch of a Digital Trade Strategy.   

The Strategy provides strong support for adoption of global standards and processes, including “agreement to adopt international digital trade standards and cooperate in relation to the development, application and adoption of standards.”  This is well-aligned with one of NATA’s current activities, undertaken in collaboration with JAS-ANZ and GS1, aimed at leveraging existing international standards to simplify the way product conformance information is managed in digital trade settings. 

The incentive for economies to align with international standards is clear, with the Strategy noting that “countries that develop national standards that diverge from international trade standards, could find themselves isolated from those states that encourage interoperability and compatibility through the adoption of accepted international standards.” 

The project in which NATA is involved seeks to address the current lack of systematic linkages between physical shipments of products and well-credentialled conformity data – the ‘missing link’ in global supply chains.  Brett Hyland from NATA, who has been involved in the collaboration with JAS-ANZ and GS1, said “There are well established global standards for tracking of goods moving through global supply chains, so it seems logical to apply this existing architecture to the associated conformity assessment data.  We are encouraged by the direction provided within the Digital Trade Strategy, as this aligns with the approach that we have proposed.” 

The Digital Trade Strategy announcement follows another important report released jointly by the World Trade Organisation and the World Economic Forum which is titled The Promise of Tradetech – Policy Approaches to Harness Trade Digitalization.  This report encourages government to leverage trade agreements “..promoting the use of open, global standards for product identification and data sharing across global value chains.”  Again, this represents more welcome news for the team at NATA working on the use of global identifiers and helps to give further credibility to this work.  

In his announcement, Australia’s Minister for Trade, Hon. Dan Tehan referenced “Australia’s important leadership role in digital trade rule making through participation in multilateral forums.”  NATA, in conjunction with JAS-ANZ and GS1, hope to provide an example of such Australian leadership!

Learn more about NATA’s collaborative work in this area at:  Digitalisation of Conformance and Accreditation Processes – NATA