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 affecting the digitalization 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.

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Videos – TradeTech

TradeTech Podcasts





Featured Insights

Interview Steven Beck, head of trade finance at Asian Development Bank, on global supply chains, trade digitisation, sustainability Interview: Steven Beck, head of trade finance at Asian Development Bank, on global supply chains, trade digitisation, sustainability TFG interviewed Steven Beck, head of trade and supply chain finance at Asian Development Bank (ADB), to discuss how the trade and supply chain finance landscape has changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
TFG Weekly Trade Briefing TFG Weekly Trade Briefing, 16th May 2022 Your Monday morning coffee briefing from TFG: Key to digitalisation – reducing the trade finance gap without creating unfair biases
Electronic trade documents coming to the UK: Enigio looks at the impact of digital legislation on bills of exchange During the Queen’s Speech on 10 May 2022, Prince Charles, standing in for the Queen, announced that the Electronic Trade Documents Bill among the list of legislation that the Government intends to pursue in the upcoming parliamentary session.

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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 modernize 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 modernize 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. 

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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

17May

Interview: Steven Beck, head of trade finance at Asian Development Bank, on global supply chains, trade digitisation, sustainability

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TFG interviewed Steven Beck, head of trade and supply chain finance at Asian Development Bank (ADB), to discuss how the… Read More →

16May

TFG Weekly Trade Briefing, 16th May 2022

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Your Monday morning coffee briefing from TFG: Key to digitalisation – reducing the trade finance gap without creating unfair biases… Read More →

10May

Electronic trade documents coming to the UK: Enigio looks at the impact of digital legislation on bills of exchange

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During the Queen’s Speech on 10 May 2022, Prince Charles, standing in for the Queen, announced that the Electronic Trade… Read More →

10May

Contour collaborates with TradeLens to transform trade finance workflows

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Contour, the global digital trade finance network has today announced its collaboration with TradeLens, a blockchain-based supply chain platform that… Read More →

06May

PODCAST: Contour on fighting the trade finance gap with digital assets

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TFG’s Deepesh Patel sat down with Contour’s CEO Carl Wegner and Chief Product Officer Joshua Kroeker to discuss trade assets,… Read More →

05May

Open sesame: trade finance in the metaverse

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The metaverse could spell a watershed moment in human economic history. It will reinforce the concept of global human culture,… Read More →

04May

The allure of eCommerce: boosting Nigeria’s digitisation policy in an era of free trade blocs

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The concept of digital transformation with a digital economy deeply permeates the current fulcrum of global economic debates, unlike previous… Read More →

03May

VIDEO: Elephant in the room – International Chamber of Shipping on greening up the maritime sector

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The Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Guy Platten, admits there’s still work to be done to… Read More →

03May

Implementing the ICC uniform rules for digital trade transactions (URDTT)

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This article looks at the URDTT as it is applied to the first known commercial application: the eDTT Workspace…. Read More →

22Apr

Enigio’s trace:original technology patented in USA and Singapore

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Enigio has been awarded patents for the digital original document invention behind their trace:original solution.  The patents were issued by… Read More →

21Apr

PODCAST: URDTT 1.0 – David Meynell discusses the new rules for digital trade transactions

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In our latest podcast, TFG’s Deepesh Patel spoke to David Meynell to discuss the new rules for digital trade transactions…. Read More →

19Apr

Credit insurance and surety software provider Tinubu® Square rebrands as Tinubu

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Tinubu, the software provider for the credit insurance and surety industry, announced today the launch of its new brand.  Tinubu… Read More →

19Apr

TFG Weekly Trade Briefing, 19th April 2022

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Your morning coffee briefing from TFG: UK manufacturer secures £2 million export contract… Read More →

14Apr

A new rulebook for digital trade: URDTT

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David Meyell, Digital Rules Advisor to the ICC Centre for Digital Trade and Innovation (C4DTI) provides a comprehensive introduction to… Read More →

13Apr

WTO and WEF launch new joint Tradetech report

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On April 12, 2022, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Economic Forum (WEF) formally launched their latest joint… 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 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.

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