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

To agriculture and beyond: a look at how IoT technology is transcending industry silos 2022 was a year filled with ups and downs for trade technology companies, but there are many bright spots for 2023.
Surecomp look ahead to 2023 Surecomp looks to 2023: Delivering on the promises of trade digitisation As we move into 2023, it will be crucial for solution providers to adapt and collaborate in order to seize the opportunities presented by digitisation for game-changing value creation.
Trade volumes and commodity predictions for 2023 Tradetech predictions for 2023 Iain MacLennan, VP of product management and trade at Finastra, and Patrik Zekkar, CEO of Enigio, Patrick DeVilbiss, head of product at CGI and Alisa DiCaprio, chief economist at R3, provided us with their predictions for the trade technology landscape in 2023.

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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.
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Latest TradeTech News

02Feb

TFG partners with ICC Future Trade Forum: Business, policy, trade tech and supply chain digitisation taking centre stage

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Presented by the Digital Standards Initiative (DSI) of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), TFG are delighted to announce a… Read More →

31Jan

Ecosystems within the maritime industry: the changing styles of leadership

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I remember reading a quote which has stuck in my mind ever since – “Sharing among an entire ecosystem of… Read More →

31Jan

To agriculture and beyond: a look at how IoT technology is transcending industry silos

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2022 was a year filled with ups and downs for trade technology companies, but there are many bright spots for… Read More →

30Jan

Blockchain trade finance: Contour and Tata Power forge new partnership

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Tata Power, an integrated power company in India, has partnered with Contour, a digital trade finance network based out of… Read More →

30Jan

TFG Weekly Trade Briefing, 30th January 2023

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Your Monday morning coffee briefing from TFG: VIDEO | Think data, not documents: advancing MLETR in 2023… Read More →

26Jan

Surecomp’s RIVO and WAVE BL partner to bolster digital trade finance solutions

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Surecomp today announced that it is partnering with WAVE BL, a blockchain-based digital platform, to further enhance digital trade finance… Read More →

20Jan

UK and Thailand work to standardise trade digitisation adoption

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The UK Centre for Digital Trade and Innovation (C4DTI) and Electronic Transaction Development Agency (ETDA) launched a new partnership project,… Read More →

20Jan

Surecomp looks to 2023: Delivering on the promises of trade digitisation

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As we move into 2023, it will be crucial for solution providers to adapt and collaborate in order to seize… Read More →

18Jan

Shifting the mindset towards innovation in ports

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Change is part of the modern world and innovation is one of the key drivers for change. The prevailing question… Read More →

09Jan

TFG Weekly Trade Briefing, 9th January 2023

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Your Monday morning coffee briefing from TFG: Global trade finance – reasons to be hopeful in 2023… Read More →

05Jan

Tradetech predictions for 2023

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Iain MacLennan, VP of product management and trade at Finastra, and Patrik Zekkar, CEO of Enigio, Patrick DeVilbiss, head of… Read More →

04Jan

Global trade finance – reasons to be hopeful in 2023

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In TFG’s conversations with industry experts, we have learned quite a lot about trade volumes and commodities, trade technology, and… Read More →

21Dec

2022 – A Year in Review with Trade Finance Global

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What a year it has been for Trade Finance Global. We took the time to review over 500 pieces of… Read More →

21Dec

PODCAST | ‘22 in 22 minutes

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There is little doubt that 2022 has been an unprecedented year and for better or for worse, there has been… Read More →

20Dec

Tradetech and deep tier financing: How emerging technology can help supply chains meet ESG standards

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Alex Gray, head of trade finance at The London Institute of Banking & Finance, explains why the staff at trade… 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.

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