The House of Commons recently released a research summary of the Electronic Trade Documents Bill (ETDB), marking yet another step towards the bill becoming an enshrined law in the summer of 2023.

According to the House of Commons, “The Bill was introduced into the House of Lords and received cross-party support. It was not amended. The Bill follows a special procedure for Law Commission Bills.”

The House of Commons research briefing provides a summary of the ETDB details, benefits, and costs, as well as the parliamentary debate surrounding the bill. Trade Finance Global was quoted by the UK Government as supporting evidence for the necessity of electronic trade documents.

The report says, “The Government also quotes figures from Trade Finance Global showing a fall in trade contract processing times from several days to a matter of seconds.”

According to the House of Commons, the purpose of the Bill is to eliminate the existing legal barrier that prevents electronic documents from being recognised on par with paper documents, given they fulfil specific criteria. These electronic documents are referred to as “electronic trade documents” within the Bill. The introduction of this Bill aligns with the recommendations provided by the Law Commission.

The Government anticipates several benefits arising from the implementation of this Bill. Electronic trade documents are expected to be more cost-effective, user-friendly, efficient, and secure compared to their paper counterparts. Their usage would lead to reduced trade expenses, accelerated transactions, minimised errors, and positive environmental outcomes. Overall, stakeholders have expressed favourable reception towards the Bill.

This House of Commons research briefing is yet another milestone in legitimising digital trade. While the ETDB goes through the legal process, many jurisdictions across the globe are keeping a watchful eye on this process. Though there is not a single legal system that unifies the international trade world, Common Law is the most widely followed, making the ETDB even more vital for the future of trade.

To read the entire report, click here.