Developing countries need digital tools to compete

27 Mar 2007

An Irish technology company has told a UN conference in Dublin that developing countries are at risk of being left behind if they are not equipped with digital trading business tools.

“New rules requiring advance notification electronically of exports will come into effect from mid 2009 for those wanting to trade with the EU and US,” said Conor O’Riordan, chief executive of Dublin tech firm CP3.

“Unless the developing world has the tools to compete, those countries will be at an extreme disadvantage technically. These countries will be left behind and will find their goods and products delayed, inspected and generally subject to additional scrutiny.”

O’Riordan was speaking at the 10th UN CEFACT Forum, which is being held for the first time in Dublin this week. The event will be attended by more than 250 global delegates, all considered experts in electronic trading and e-business.

“Ireland has a global opportunity to play a role as a broker in trade development for SMEs [small to medium-sized enterprises] and developing economies,” said O’Riordan, adding that CP3 Group is committed to making its paperless trade business tools available to aid developing countries.

“If fully integrated paperless trade can increase efficiencies of up to 1pc of total trade volume of a country and assist compliancy,” O’Riordan said.

“It would be my hope that Ireland will lead this process and that a partnership might emerge with a foundation such as the Bill and Melinda Gates one, the World Bank and EU and US countries to facilitate the developing world to trade efficiently.”

Tom Kitt TD, Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach, said that new security measures introduced as a result of the global political climate have made it even more difficult for developing world countries to trade due to mounting paperwork and administration.

“These security problems, being led primarily by the US, have led to an emphasis on advance information and extra risk analysis.

“The paperless trade and single window processes represent a terrific step forward in achieving the goal of only having to submit all trade-related information and documents once to a single point electronically.

“If the information flows can be simplified, this will be of great value. Ireland strongly supports these initiatives and it is heartening that the UN have devoted such energy and resources to advancing the process,” Kitt said.

By John Kennedy