TradeTech

TradeTech | ICC, TFG and WTO Guide

TradeTech

Welcome to the TFG TradeTech hub. International trade and trade finance is going through rapid innovation, thanks to the advancement of both developed and brand new technologies. In the TFG TradeTech hub, we focus on how technologies affect the digitalisation of freight and transport, trade and customs and access to finance. TradeTech can help reduce some of the biggest challenges when it comes to paper documents, access to MSME finance and getting goods from A to B would be easier.

TFG TradeTech hub

Download the whitepaper



Access trade, receivables and supply chain finance

We assist companies to access trade and receivables finance through our relationships with 270+ banks, funds and alternative finance houses.
Get started

Videos – TradeTech

TradeTech Podcasts





Featured Insights

Combating financial crime The benefits of a modular approach Combating financial crime: The benefits of a modular approach Traditional compliance methods—often manual and time-consuming—are no longer sufficient given the volume and complexity of modern-day transactions.
trade finance international trade The commoditisation of trade finance Exploring the evolution of trade finance in the fourth industrial revolution. Learn about the impact of technology and advancements on the financial system.
digitalisation trade finance VIDEO | Andrea Tang on the future of trade documents and digitalisation At ICC Austria’s Trade Finance Week in Vienna, Trade Finance Global sat down with Andrea Tang, Legal Services Director at the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association (FIATA), to discuss a few of these developments.

Download our free tradetech guide



TradeTech – Layers

Tradetech layers

TradeTech – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the definition of TradeTech?

Trade finance technology, often abbreviated as TradeTech, refers to the use of technology, innovation, and software to support and digitally transform the trade finance industry. It is often considered to be a subcategory of the more widely used term, FinTech. TradeTech, which can include several technologies, puts a particular emphasis on the application of technology and software to modernise trade finance.

These technologies include but are not exclusively limited to cloud computing, optical character recognition (OCR), internet of things (IoT), big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, distributed ledger technology (DLT) and application programming interface (API).

Who uses TradeTech and what is its role in global trade?

TradeTech can be used by any firm in the international trade ecosystem. While TradeTech applications are often developed by large banks or innovative technology companies, the applications themselves are not limited to this demographic. 

Many micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), however, are often under the impression that technology is simply not for them and view it as complex and costly. This may be due to the idea that some digital trade technology solutions focus more on trying to explain the technology itself rather than simplifying the explanation and service offering to MSMEs, leading to a lack of audience engagement. Continual efforts to make MSMEs aware of the plethora of opportunities available to them are important. Governments may have a role to play in this respect to raise awareness and provide education for MSMEs.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted TradeTech?

The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly accelerated the development and adoption of many TradeTech applications. Largely, these have come about as a result of a lack of physical employee presence at the usual places of business, coupled with the inability to print and transport documents. Operating under “normal” processes has not been an option. To cope, banks have been forced to create or scale up ad hoc digital processes.

Despite this firm-level acceleration, there have also been indications that many banks have not received significant meaningful support from government authorities to facilitate trade on digital terms. Nevertheless, the desperate necessity for paperless workarounds has set the industry on a digital course.

Does TradeTech include data security?

Absolutely. Given the vast amounts of data that exist today, data security must be treated as a top priority and subsequently exists at the heart of nearly every TradeTech application. For some, like distributed ledger technology, the security of data is at the core of their reason for being. 

For many firms, using TradeTech applications will go a long way towards boosting their data security. This is because TradeTech providers generally operate internationally. In order to do so effectively, the data security standards that they use to protect consumer data must meet the stringent requirements of every region they operate within. For most end-users, this means that their data will be protected to a standard greater than that legally required in their own jurisdiction.  

What is the most prominent technology in trade?

There is a complex interplay between all of the technologies used in trade. Each technology relies on the capabilities of others to deliver its most powerful benefits. Some of them work to collect and deliver data, others analyse and interpret this data, and still others provide the infrastructure which allows this communication to occur. Take, for example, the role of the internet of things (IoT) in this relationship. IoT devices and sensors on their own provide minimal value. However, when they are combined with the secure transmission capabilities of distributed ledger technology (DLT) and the analytical capabilities of big data analytics tools enabled by artificial intelligence (AI), they are able to deliver meaningful and actionable information.

To name one technology as the most prominent would be like deciding which part of a car is the most important. One could argue the engine, or the brakes, or the tires – but it is safe to agree that the car is just better when it has all of these combined together. 

Why is technology in trade so underdeveloped relative to other industries?

Many of the cumbersome processes that exist in trade today have been developed to allow parties to a transaction to trust the outcome of the transaction even if they do not trust their counterparties. Considering that the counterparties are often on opposite sides of the globe and operating in vastly different legal systems, it has been critical to thoroughly develop robust instruments that both parties trust to facilitate these transactions. 

Until recently, the technological tools that could be used simply did not suffice in facilitating this trust – meaning that they were just not good enough to replace the paper processes that were already in place. This led to several decades of technological progress in other industries that effectively bypassed international trade.  

Today, however, with advancements in technology such as distributed ledger technology (DLT), it is finally possible to trust digital mechanisms in lieu of their paper counterparts that have been in use for so long.  

How can TradeTech help inform trade policy?

Most current national regulations do not allow most TradeTech solutions to be widely adopted. This stems from legal concerns, such as the ambiguity of Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (UCP) rules, which do not specify whether digital tools such as artificial intelligence (AI) can be used in lieu of humans. As increased developments and proofs of concept demonstrate the efficiencies and power of TradeTech, policymakers around the globe will be forced to modernise their nation’s policy or sit idly by as the global economy moves on without them. 

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) has already developed a model law that would create an enabling regulatory framework recognizing e-signatures and e-documents – the Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR).  The UNCITRAL MLETR has already been adopted by 2 countries – the Kingdom of Bahrain and Singapore. Its adoption by the broader global community is critical to the continual development of TradeTech solutions. 

Download our free 2021 publication



Contents

Access trade, receivables and supply chain finance

We assist companies to access trade and receivables finance through our relationships with 270+ banks, funds and alternative finance houses.
Get started

Latest TradeTech News

18Jul

Combating financial crime: The benefits of a modular approach

0 Comments

Traditional compliance methods—often manual and time-consuming—are no longer sufficient given the volume and complexity of modern-day transactions…. Read More →

10Jul

Joint ICC-UNECE initiative calls for enhanced global digital trade interoperability

0 Comments

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Digital Standards Initiative (DSI) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) have… Read More →

03Jul

The commoditisation of trade finance

0 Comments

Exploring the evolution of trade finance in the fourth industrial revolution. Learn about the impact of technology and advancements on… Read More →

27Jun

VIDEO | Andrea Tang on the future of trade documents and digitalisation

0 Comments

At ICC Austria’s Trade Finance Week in Vienna, Trade Finance Global sat down with Andrea Tang, Legal Services Director at… Read More →

26Jun

VIDEO | Levelling the playing field for factoring around the world, where will future growth come from?

0 Comments

At the 56th annual FCI event in Seoul, Neal Harm, Secretary General, FCI, was joined by Doaa Hafez, Executive Committee… Read More →

26Jun

Monthly TFG & ICC DSI Column

0 Comments

Read the monthly TFG and ICC DSI column! Hear from leading experts in trade digitalisation and keep up with all… Read More →

25Jun

EBRD: Morocco hosts conference on digitalisation of trade

0 Comments

Today, Morocco is hosting a conference on the digitalisation of foreign trade at the Casablanca Hotel, supported by the European… Read More →

07Jun

France joins MLETR club, recognising ‘Titre Transférable Électronique’

0 Comments

On June 5, 2024, the French National Assembly adopted the uniform law initiative, the Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records… Read More →

29May

Video | More green, more digital: In conversation with EBRD’s incoming Shona Tatchell and outgoing Rudolf Putz

0 Comments

At the EBRD 2024 annual meeting in Yerevan, Armenia, the Trade Facilitation Program (TFP) was in the spotlight as it… Read More →

28May

Surecomp advances digital trade with rapid eBL transactions on RIVO platform

0 Comments

Surecomp® has announced the completion of successful electronic bills of lading (eBL) transactions, bringing together multiple parties via its collaborative… Read More →

28May

HSBC and Geidea launch digital payment platform Omni Collect in UAE

0 Comments

HSBC has introduced its new e-commerce digital payment platform, Omni Collect, in the UAE in collaboration with Saudi-based FinTech company,… Read More →

22May

Visa B2B Connect and NetXD expand payments partnership

0 Comments

NetXD has announced the expansion of its payments collaboration with Visa B2B Connect to onboard banks in Asia, following the… Read More →

09May

VIDEO | Clifford Chance on ETDA: Legal challenges for the new law of the land

0 Comments

To discuss these aspects of the ETDA in detail and shed light on the digital trade transition for the industry,… Read More →

07May

VIDEO | Corporate and bank perspective on adopting the ETDA: Use case with Trafigura

0 Comments

Discover the relationship between digitalisation, legislation, and international trade. Explore the impact of the Electronic Trade Documents Act (ETDA) in… Read More →

07May

Indian TReDS platforms advance rapid invoice deduplication with new global standards

0 Comments

The expanded connectivity for TReDS providers means the global standard for privacy-preserving fraud prevention technology is now in India. … Read More →

About the Author

Deepesh Patel is Editorial Director at Trade Finance Global (TFG). In this role, Deepesh leads efforts in developing TFG’s brand, relationships and strategic direction in key markets, including the UK, US, Singapore, Dubai and Hong Kong.

Deepesh regularly chairs and speaks at international industry events with the WTO, BCR, Excred, TXF, The Economist and Reuters, as well as industry associations including ICC, FCI, ITFA, ICISA and BAFT.

Deepesh is the host of the ‘Trade Finance Talks’ podcast and ‘Trade Finance Talks TV’. He is co-author of ‘Blockchain for Trade: A Reality Check’ with the ICC and the WTO, alongside other industry research.

In addition to his work at TFG, Deepesh is a Strategic Advisor for WOA, and works closely with ITFA. He also sits on the Fintech Working Group of the Standardised Trust.

Prior to TFG, Deepesh worked at Travelex where he was responsible for the cards business and the Travelex Money app in Europe, NAM, UK and Brazil. Deepesh is Chair of Governors and co-opted LA Governor of the Wyvern Federation, which has responsibility for 5 primary schools in South London.

Back to Top