Blockchain Technology in International Trade in Goods

Blockchain Technology in International Trade in Goods

Dagmar Gesmann-Nuissl
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7638-9.ch008
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No other technology has been mentioned as frequently as blockchain technology. No less than a technical revolution should go along with it. In addition to a brief introduction to the functionality of the blockchain technology, this chapter will also highlight various fields of application and the related legal challenges in international trade. The transport industry may be mentioned as an example. Especially in the transportation of goods, a large number of documentation obligations must be adhered to and permits must be obtained. Packing lists, export licenses, and product certificates are examples of this. All mentioned documents are based on the same data set, namely the details of the type, origin, and quantity of the goods. Large parts of these documents must be carried along with the goods and presented on instructions, which causes considerable bureaucracy and makes transportation more difficult and expensive. These documents could be displayed on the blockchain in the future.
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In the context of globally and digitally networked companies, blockchain technology will gain considerably in significance in the future. The technology is intended after the initial considerations to increase the security of digital processes, reduce data loss and increase confidence in organisational processes. The extent to which it can also accompany transactions in international trade of goods in particular in the declaration of goods and freight, which are increasingly triggered autonomously by cyber-physical systems in the environment of industry 4.0, will be discussed in this article.

First of all, the functionality of blockchain technology hast to be introduced. Subsequently, an outline of various fields of the application of blockchain technology in international trade will be given. The associated legal challenges in particular with reference to the International Sales and Trade Law will be highlighted. In the conclusion it will be evaluated, to what extent the blockchain technology can support the international trade under the current law.

Key Terms in this Chapter

UNICTRAL: United Nations Commission on International Trade Law.

Transport Documents: Transport documents accompany the goods on their way to the customer. This includes documents which certify the ownership of the goods (bill of lading, consignment bill, or warehouse receipt) but also other accompanying documents.

International Trade: International trade is the exchange of goods, services, and capital across international borders or territories.

CISG: United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods.

Blockchain: A blockchain is a continuously expandable list of data records, which are linked together by cryptographic methods.

Cyper-Physical System (CPS): CPS refers to the combination of informatic, software-technical components with mechanical and electronic parts that communicate via a data infrastructure such as the internet.

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