Business lobby group CBI argues greater digitisation of trade finance would benefit SMEs

Fri 6 Aug 2021
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

UK business lobby group, the Confederation of British Industry, has supported a G20 paper on how to improve access to trade finance to help businesses build their exports. 

The report is by the Business Twenty or B20, the official business engagement forum for the Group of Twenty (G20) advanced economies, acting as the voice of the private sector within the G20.

The paper, developed under the Italian B20 Presidency, has recommendations including legal recognition of digital documentation in trade finance processes, and establishing well-defined security principles and minimum requirements to make digital platforms trusted. 

SMEs benefit

The initiative envisions a solution that significantly reducing bureaucracy, while increasing transparency and traceability.

Although aimed at all firms, it may particularly benefit SMEs who face a proportionately higher cumulative regulatory and administrative burden, the report says.

Commenting on the announcement, Emma Marcegaglia, chair of B20 said: 

“It is critical to grant business, especially MSMEs (micro, small and medium-sized enterprises), a sustainable and inclusive cross-border working environment by enacting policies, security standards, and operational mechanisms to uplift efficiency and productivity.”

Digital experimentation

According to GTR Review, the process of trade digitisation has acquired new urgency as a result of Covid-19, with the pandemic giving organisations the opportunity to experiment with technologies and co-operative approaches that could aid global trade.

At the same time, there has been a change of mindset among clients, said Sibel Sirmagul, regional head of product and propositions, global trade and receivables Europe at HSBC.

“Take the digital signature, for example. It is a small change, but it has been a great experience for clients, and they want it to continue,” she said.

African initiative

The IOE&IT recently signed an agreement with TradeMark East Africa to provide a digital trade corridor between the UK and Kenya. 

The UK-Kenya Trade Logistics Information Pipeline (TLIP) aims to eliminate paperwork and introduce better visibility in the supply chains flowing between the UK and Kenya.