The rise of Global Trade

Defining global trade

Global trade can be defined simply as the passing of goods or services across international borders. Global trade has been around for decades as our world becomes increasingly digital and increasingly connected. The Columbian coffee beans you find at the grocery store, the household items imported from China, the Italian wine you’re drinking with pasta, and even tropical fruit shipped into your home country from around the world are all examples of items you have access to due to global trade lines.

On the business to business side of things, global trade operates in a very similar fashion. Manufacturers that need to ship in materials or parts from foreign countries to fulfill orders rely on global trade to keep their operations running smoothly. Accounts payable professionals who receive invoices from foreign entities need open borders and transparent communication and information to complete payments and offer their products and services to consumers.

Put simply, global trade impacts significant portions of our daily lives, even if you are not aware of it.

In our modern-day, global trade has expanded exponentially as technology and other software tools emerge. With many  digital platforms and tools to choose from, connecting with other businesses from afar has never been easier.

Why is global trade important? 

The importance of global trade cannot be overstated. Organizations need global trade to expand their markets and gain access to materials and goods that would otherwise be unavailable. This increases the market of goods customers can choose from, but this also helps make the market more competitive, and in turn, keeps the price of goods and services lower.

Over the past year and a half, as we navigated our way through the pandemic, the need for digital communication channels and trade across borders became more obvious than ever before. While companies closed their offices,  they needed an approach to business that allowed them to continue producing and distributing their goods safely.

The answer: global trade marketplaces and platforms that use digital tools to grant users access to communications, financial records, order tracking, and vendor information from anywhere in the world.

As we near the 2-year mark of the onset of COVID-19, market research predicts that prioritizing investments in global trade and digitalization will help companies bounce back faster and build up resilience for potential future disruption.

How global trade impacts your supply chain

Chances are, your supply chain has a lot of moving parts. And, as your organization expands its reach and markets, your supply chain will become increasingly complicated.

That’s why enterprises need to find a digital platform that helps to consolidate their records and communications history while also granting them deeper insight into the state of their supply chain. 

With a comprehensive and collaborative digital global trade platform it’s easier to connect with vendors and business partners across the globe. Having all your communication on one platform reduces the chance of messages being misinterpreted or questions being lost in translation.

This digital platform also grants you greater visibility over your supply chain processes and more control over your transactions. With the ability to track orders, invoice statuses, and manage approval processes, you can reduce the uncertainty in your supply chain and build up your resilience to potential future disruptions.

The challenges of conducting trade internationally

As we said earlier, when you expand your trade globally, your supply chain becomes increasingly complex. Here  are a few of the most common issues that arise:

Compliance with laws in other countries

Not every country follows the same set of rules.. As you begin to conduct business in different countries, keeping track of all the differing regulations can be difficult. If your company doesn’t stay compliant with trade and tax laws, you can risk financial penalties and delays that disrupt business.

Collaboration problems

Communication across time zones and in different languages can be difficult.If your suppliers are based out of Hong Kong and you work in New York, how will you schedule calls at times that are convenient for everyone and which language will you speak in? These understandable differences can put a strain on your business relationships if you don’t manage your supplier relations carefully.

Data tracking and storage

With increasingly complex supply chains and mountains of data and paperwork to sift through, keeping your records, communication, and data organized can be a hefty task. In traditional paper process settings, it is easy for invoices to get lost in the clutter or for information to be entered  incorrectly. This opens the door to supply chain delays, data breaches and missed payments that slow down business. When your company looks to expand its reach across international markets, you need to be certain that you have a strategy for securely collecting and storing your critical information.

These challenges should not be a cause for concern if your enterprise wants to embrace global trade. With the right strategy and by investing in the right digital trade platforms, you can create a supply chain that is streamlined and built to be resilient.

How Tradeshift supports global trade

As a B2B global trade network, Tradeshift is built to help support your supply chain and payments processing wherever you do business. Our award-winning digital tools help you generate instant value for your suppliers by creating a more collaborative and transparent relationship. When you join the Tradeshift network, you’ll enjoy:

An easy onboarding experience

Tradeshift Engage is the only solution that gives sellers free access to powerful collaboration and analytics tools along with predictable, prompt payments. Our adaptive supplier onboarding experience is personalized, easy, and enables you to provide real value to your sellers from day one.

Fast, easy communication

Our digital platform consolidates all your communications with your sellers into one place, giving you instant access to an archived record for reference. With the Tradeshift network, everything is tracked and documented so you’ll never have to search your inbox again. This means that invoices, credit notes, remittances and support documentation and supplier information are all easily accessible by both parties.

Global compliance

Tradeshift currently operates in over 190 countries. In these countries we can ensure you and your sellers will always be compliant with local laws and regulations. For a full list of the countries in which we support compliance and a more detailed breakdown of our compliance offerings visit this page.

AP automation

Gone are the days of mountains of paperwork and manual processes. With the Tradeshift network you’ll be on the fast-track to  e-invoicing, reducing the likelihood of errors or delays in payment processing. And with intelligent AI our platform takes the strain off your shoulders by automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks freeing your teams up for more strategic tasks.

Learn more about Tradeshift

Get a demo now


About Tradeshift

Tradeshift is a market leader in e-invoicing and accounts payable automation and an innovator in supplier financing and B2B marketplaces. Its cloud-based platform helps buyers and suppliers digitize invoice processing, automate accounts payable workflows and scale without limit. Headquartered in San Francisco, Tradeshift’s vision is to connect every company in the world, creating economic opportunity for all. Today, the Tradeshift platform is home to the world’s fastest-growing network of buyers and sellers operating in more than 190 countries.

Fast Company named Tradeshift to its list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2020 and it landed on Forbes’ 2019 list of The Most Innovative Fintech Companies.

Find out more at