Is this the end of paper-based trading documents?

Did you know that an estimated 28.5 billion paper trade documents are printed and distributed across the globe every day?

The Electronic Trade Documents Bill, introduced to parliament yesterday, aims to reduce this figure, as well as boost the UK’s international trade, which is already valued at more than £1.4 trillion.

What is changing?

Currently, business documents such as bills of lading, ensuring that exporters receive payments and importers receive goods, must be paper-based.

However, under the Electronic Trade Documents Bill, digital trade documents will be put in the same legal position as their paper counterparts.

This will offer more choice and flexibility in how your business trades.

The Digital Container Shipping Association approximates that if 50 per cent of the container shipping industry implements digital bills of lading, businesses across the globe will save around £3.6 billion annually.

What are the benefits?

In the UK, utilising electronic trade documents is anticipated to boost business by £1.14 billion over ten years.

Not only that, but administration fees and contract processing times will reduce significantly.

Additionally, The International Chamber of Commerce estimates that SMEs could see a 13 per cent rise in international trade.

Digital Secretary, Michelle Donelan, commented on the proposals:

“Our digital-first plans will make it easier for the country’s firms to buy and sell around the world – driving growth, supercharging our economy, cutting carbon and boosting productivity.

“We want to support businesses by cutting red tape and allowing them to sell their goods and products globally without burdensome bureaucracy.”

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