November 2020 – News Highlights


ICC releases the “ICC Identity Management Guide”

The production and distribution of goods and services are increasingly organised in global value chains supported by electronic communication. Exporters and importers and their service providers for banking, insurance, logistical and computer support services need to be able to communicate with each other electronically with high quality data.

The ICC Identity Management Guide version 1.0 available here is intended to support the ICC members and their service providers to make informed decisions for the design and maintenance of their business processes.

High quality data are relevant for the following reasons 

•    International Trade: international businesses are faced with data of multiple identification systems which creates operational costs and risks.

•    Digital Economy: international businesses are more and more part of one or more digital ecosystems which require a unique “end-to-end” identification of subjects and objects with high quality data in the international supply chain.

•    Compliance challenges: exporters and importers (and their service providers) are subject to reporting of data to government agencies  with high quality data.

The guide with its references to the available data and (private and public) organisations involved will contribute to the understanding of the data challenges management in any industry.

Blockchain & Trade – Report by World Trade Organization & Trade Finance Global

The World Trade Organization and Trade Finance Global have joined together in publishing an update on global trade and the impact of blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) on this sector of commerce.

Global trade, and trade finance, remains a bit of an analogue process. Digital transformation can take place leveraging blockchain technology improving efficiencies, trust and speed. The ongoing COVID-19 health crisis accentuates the need for transformation and the authors state that “in every crisis lies opportunity.”

To quote the report:

“Of particular interest for trade digitalization are projects leveraging distributed ledger technology (DLT) – commonly referred to as Blockchain. The tamper-proof, decentralized and distributed nature of DLT makes it an attractive tool to break the silos that hinder international trade. Many projects that were still at an exploratory stage when the first “Blockchain and DLT in Trade” periodic table was launched a year ago have matured and reached the production stage. This is good news!

But technology is only a tool. The promising potential of DLT to facilitate international trade, from customs procedures to trade finance, will only be realized if regulation evolves to support the large-scale deployment of the technology and if a globally harmonized, digitized trade environment is put in place. This will require a global dialogue; a dialogue that involves all stakeholders, public and private. The ICC Digital Standards Initiative, which was recently launched with the support of Enterprise Singapore and the Asian Development Bank and the participation of the World Trade Organization, will work towards this ambitious aim – directly addressing disruptions experienced during the COVID-19 crisis as a result of the reliance of trade flows on paper documentation. We invite all interested stakeholders from the private sector, but also governments and other international organizations to join us in this endeavour.”

The report may be downloaded here.

RCEP: Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership – a free trade agreement covering almost a third of the world’s population

Eight years after the official start of negotiations, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – a free trade agreement covering almost a third of the world’s population and 30% of global GDP – is now a reality.

The deal, concluded between China, the 10 Asean member states, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea, is almost unrivalled in its complexity. Its 20 chapters plus 17 annexes and 54 schedules of commitments manage to cover market access, rules and disciplines, and economic and technical cooperation between what are 15 very different trading nations. The agreement pulls together a pan-Asian basic standard for trade that goes beyond the terms provided by the World Trade Organization (WTO), supporting regional integration and engaging emerging markets and developed economies.

(Source: GTR Review)

Concerns over Australia-China row as coal ships stranded offshore

International concerns are growing over the trade dispute between Australia and China, as it emerges that at least 20 cargo ships carrying Australian coal have spent weeks anchored offshore, unable to dock. 

(Source: GTR Review)

ICC Banking Commission Technical Meeting 28 October 2020

This meeting was originally scheduled to be held in Cyprus but due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was changed to a virtual meeting.

All presentations displayed by the speakers can be downloaded here.

ICC releases the 2020 edition of the ICC Intellectual Property Roadmap: Current and emerging issues for business and policymakers

This is the 14th edition of the publication and can be downloaded here

Singapore Customs digitalizes Banker’s guarantee process

Banks and traders can now experience a fully paperless process on the Networked Trade Platform (NTP), including lodgement, claims and discharge of the banker's guarantee.

Singapore Customs has launched the first comprehensive electronic banker's guarantee (eBG) program on the NTP, following seven months of pilots with BNP Paribas, DBS Bank, OCBC Bank, SMBC and UOB, it announced on Thursday. The eBG promises efficiency, time and cost savings and increased productivity as the process removes the need for the issuance and delivery of paper BGs by participating banks to Singapore Customs, which reduces the transit time to almost zero with a processing lead time of one day.

During the pilot it accounted for about 65 percent of the BGs issued by the participating banks to the Singapore Customs. Since the full roll-out on November 2, 100 percent of the BGs issued by participating banks with Singapore Customs as the beneficiary were eBG.

(Source: Finews.Asia)

Afreximbank, ITFC and Badea launch US$1.5bn pandemic response facility in Africa

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has announced a new US$1.5bn pandemic response facility with backing from the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (Badea). 

HSBC Bangladesh uses blockchain to facilitate import of 20,000 tons of fuel oil from Singapore

HSBC Bangladesh has completed the country’s first blockchain-powered cross-border trade settled by letter of credit using the Contour DLT platform.

The transaction was used to settle the importation of 20,000 tonnes of fuel oil from United Group’s Singapore subsidiary United Mymensingh Power.

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Latest Question

Our bank, on behalf of the beneficiary, and acting in the capacity of presenting bank, remitted documents drawn under a documentary credit to the counters of the confirming bank (said documentary remittance being subject to UCP 600). The confirming bank refused the documents citing discrepancies. Their advice of refusal stated the disposal documents to be HOLD. We reverted, instructing them to remit the documents to the issuing bank, subject to UCP 600. The confirming bank acknowledged receipt of our instructions, sending us a FIN MT799, reproduced below. Quote BILL AMT : USD XXX THE ITEM DESCRIBED HEREIN IS FOR YOUR ACCOUNT. PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF OUR INSTRUCTIONS BELOW APPLICANT: A BENEFICIARY: B WE ACKNOWLEDGE RECEIPT OF THE ABOVE-MENTIONED PRESENTATION. AS PER YOUR INSTRUCTIONS WE HAVE FORWARDED THE DOCUMENTS TO THE ISSUING BANK. AFTER RECEIPT OF FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE ISSUING BANK, THE MATTER OF SETTLEMENT WILL RECEIVE OUR FURTHER CONSIDERATION. WE USE GREAT CARE IN SELECTING OUR FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS AND PREFER TO PUT OUR FOREIGN COLLECTIONS THROUGH THEM. IN THE EVENT YOU DESIGNATE A CORRESPONDENT OTHER THAN THE ONE OF OUR OWN SELECTION, WE SHALL FOLLOW YOUR INSTRUCTIONS UPON THE EXPLICIT UNDERSTANDING THAT YOU ASSUME AND CONFIRM ALL THE ACTS OF SUCH CORRESPONDENT OF YOUR OWN CHOOSING AND AGREE TO HOLD US HARMLESS FROM ALL CONSEQUENCES THEREOF. EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED HEREIN, THIS DOCUMENTARY REMITTANCE IS SUBJECT TO THE ICC'S UNIFORM CUSTOMS AND PRACTICE FOR DOCUMENTARY CREDITS (VERSION IN FORCE ON THE DATE OF ISSUANCE OF THIS L/C). Unquote My understanding is that the documents have been remitted by the confirming bank direct to the issuing bank, as opposed to using an intermediary (collecting bank/agent). Is that correct? It may be the case that the confirming bank is trying to tell us that they will route the proceeds / payment to us by using the services of foreign correspondent banks and so the message acts as a type of legal disclaimer i.e., that they are not liable or responsible for any failures or omissions on the part of these correspondent banks. Is my interpretation correct? Is this message for informational purposes only or do we need to take any action / reply to safeguard the interests of our bank and our client (L/C beneficiary)? Please note that in our remittance letter we provided them with settlement instructions / USD nostro correspondent bank details. I trust in the event the issuing bank elects to honour the presentation the confirming bank will arrange for net proceeds to be credited to the nostro account we maintain with our USD correspondent. Please let me know if you believe I have in any way misunderstood or misinterpreted their message. If I have misunderstood, please could you outline for me what the confirming bank is trying to tell us. This is the first time I have come across something like this and I am wondering if it is usual nowadays for certain foreign banks to issue messages with such wording.