In line with its 2020 Strategy, the ICC Banking Commission has launched a “Digitalisation of Trade Finance Working Group”.
The aim of the Group is to identify strategies to overcome the constraints of digitalising trade finance - such as a reliance on paper-based practices, a lack of recognition of the legal status of electronic documents, uncertainty over standards, and a general lack of clear legal and regulatory frameworks.
The working group will be chaired by Michael Vrontamitis, Global Head of Trade, Product Management Transaction Banking at Standard Chartered Bank and co-chaired by Alexander Goulandris, co-founder and CEO of essDOC. The group will be coordinated by David Bischof - Senior Policy Manager of the Banking Commission - who will oversee its daily operations. The group will also be the focal point for relevant external parties such as the international transaction banking association BAFT, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO).
“The digitalisation of the trade finance industry is already underway,” said Michael Vrontamitis, Chair of the Digitalisation of Trade Finance Working Group. “In order to help the industry to reach a point of critical mass, where the benefits are fully realised, we need to develop a framework and create a digital ecosystem to enable connectivity and collaboration between stakeholders, in turn speeding up wider adoption.”
A key focus for the working group’s activities will be in helping the trade finance industry realise the many benefits of digitalisation - including transparency, time and cost savings, reduced errors, and reduced compliance and operational risk.
Olivier Paul, Head of Policy at the ICC Banking Commission said: “The group’s focus is simple - to improve awareness of digitalisation and to encourage banks and other corporate actors to participate in the transformation of the industry. Digitalisation can bring about significant operational improvements - working capital benefits and a reduction in the time and costs of the trade finance business - with significant wider economic benefits. Yet e-compatibility and minimum standards are critical, as is legal certainty. This group will thus play a pivotal role in delivering a digital future for trade finance.”