With the Covid-19 pandemic, our paper-based trade finance settlement system suddenly stopped working. It is about time businesses adopt paperless and digital workflow to safeguard trade finance operations.
There is a common miss-conception that four or five multiple banks must be involved to manage letter of credit transactions. These multiple banks include credit issuing banks, advising banks, negotiating banks, confirming banks, and reimbursing banks. What is less understood is that these “banks” are functions, not necessarily physical banks. The trade finance functions these banks perform in a transaction can be done by separate banking institutions or by one bank under UCP 600 guidelines (Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits, ICC Publication 600).
The ICC Uniform Rules for Collections (URC522) Supplement for Electronic Presentation (eURC). On 1 July 2019, the revised internet eRules and guidelines for online trade finance documentary collections came into effect for banks, importers, exporters, and freight forwarders to prepare and present electronic records for documentary collections in lieu of or in conjunction with paper documents.
On 1 July 2019, the long-awaited revised internet eRules and guidelines for online trade finance finally arrived for banks, importers, exporters, freight forwarders, chambers of commerce, customs brokers, logistics companies and carriers, to prepare and present electronic records for documentary letters of credit in lieu of or in conjunction with paper documents.
Change is not just coming; change is here today, now. The impact of using electronic trade documents instead of hard copies of bills of lading, invoices, packing lists, and certificates to settle trade transactions via the Internet will be as profound to global trade finance as the containerization of cargo was to logistics.