Governments Called on to Respond to Trade Finance Barriers

By Nigel Hook, TradeSun Founder and CEO

In a recent article in the Global Trade Review, Eleanor Wragg reports on a recent plea to the government by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to “enable an immediate transition to paperless trading.” The article addresses the current challenges of COVID-19 in the processing of trade finance transactions amidst stay-at-home orders around the world. It is suggested that the government should remove requirements for “key trade documents such as bills of lading, bills of exchange, promissory notes and commercial invoices to be presented in paper format” as many banks are currently unable to handle trade finance paper documents in person.

Paperless trade is a concept that banks have been working towards for years, but have so far found challenging to make a reality. As the article explains, “unless you get every shipowner, every customs authority to agree to accept, for example, the electronic bill of lading, it still doesn’t work…Bringing all actors in the world’s supply chains together to agree on the validity of electronic documents simply isn’t feasible.”

That’s where TradeSun comes in. Our philosophy is to let artificial intelligence (AI) understand any document, and then normalize it into a common standard rather than requiring everyone to conform to the same standard. As humans, we can’t even agree on miles or kilometers, let alone an entire documentation system. With TradeSun, a uniform e-document is not a necessity. The TradeSun platform can process any document, regardless of format. Using state-of-the-art AI, TradeSun’s patent-pending Astra algorithm harnesses image recognition, natural language processing (NLP) and propriety technology to read and transform any document into a transaction. With the highest accuracy rate in the market, TradeSun gets exponentially smarter with the more documents it processes.

In this new world, perhaps government emergency response is the catalyst to finally leaving behind paper and postal systems. At TradeSun we are currently seeing an increase in interest from banks in re-thinking their internal restrictions to allow for the future of work: an accessible from anywhere, scalable solution that elevates humans from menial to meaningful work and accelerates digitalization of trade finance.

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