Paving Ways For The New Era Of Efficiency In Trade Finance

Trade finance has been a continued industry reluctant when it comes to adapt to any changes. Portrayed by disorganized and bulky legacy measures, this particular industry has stayed stagnant while other sectors are favorably getting ahead by adopting digitization. But, the global pandemic has triggered the change for the trade finance industry that was required for many years, and initiatives towards technological improvements have been noticed, especially across the Asia Pacific. These innovative progressions are assisting the process of revolutionizing the trade finance industry and hopefully, inviting a coordinated, worldwide approach to ensure more efficient trade.

The list of the difficulties being faced by the trade finance industry, highlighting an industry dependency on paper, wrong documentation, and KYC, non-interoperable systems, and manual corrections could all be coped up with suitable technological efforts. These difficulties are now finally being resolved by several advanced digital solutions. For example, earlier, as an initiative, the technology group Wärtsilä took part in paperless trade finance to automate trade finance processes.

Among all the technologies, one advancement which is gaining more attention is enterprise blockchain. Trade is essentially a decentralized system and extremely intermediated - overwhelmingly by banks that aid to ease transactions and provide the financing behind them, but also insurers, custom officials, and other market members. Many firms endeavor several times to apply centralized solutions to this decentralized system but all in vain.

The decentralized idea of blockchain makes it an ideal fit for trade finance. It is the first time when the entire industry is benefiting from technology and shifting towards real-world deployment at a record pace.

Meanwhile, regulators are also operating with the technology providers to understand auditing and taking an insight into the transactions taking place on these latest blockchain-based platforms, and also guaranteeing appropriate laws are set up, including those identifying with electronic documentation and electronic signatures.

The architecture supporting the entire ecosystem of trade is facing complete digital transformation - but how are members profiting from this change?

Determining The Change

Many of the processes and advancements that are supporting trade finance have not been yet modernized in many years. The outcome is that those transactions continue to depend on paper-heavy processing, unacceptable for the current digital era. Traditional technologies demand corporations to log into several portals and shuffle connection and documentation for each shipment.

These shortcomings in trade finance imply that almost USD 1.5 trillion of demand for trade finance is dismissed by banks, as indicated by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), with 60% of banks anticipating that this figure is likely to be increased over the upcoming two years. Developing markets that are highly dependent on access to trade can be extremely hindered through these old processes.

In addition to this, businesses across the world should explore the developing danger of cyberattacks, evolving guidelines and steadily changing sanctions lists. Regardless of this difficulty, daunting and time-consuming paper-based exchanges are still typical.

For example, invoice financing. While a common action, handling payments and terms can be slow and inefficient for firms and their business partners. They should explore various currencies and jurisdictions, each with extraordinary necessities in terms of agreement terms and installments.

By automating these manual procedures and replacing old legacy systems, technologies such as Blockchain have a true impact on decreasing the costs, risks, and delays to members involved in trade finance.

Recommended Read: Vietnam’s HDBank joins HSBC, StanChart-backed Contour trade finance blockchain

If applied adequately, the technology is capable of unraveling the potential $1.5 trillion opportunities in global trade finance. Firms of all sizes will benefit from better perceivability into trading relationships and smooth access to financing options, beyond point-to-point connections, to a worldwide network of trading parties.

Requiring a decentralized network

The integration of Blockchain across the financial services ecosystem has brought some appreciating outcomes so far. While the distribution has been more steady than some of the more over-eager expectations, many take it as an excellent innovation capable of aiding a number of the operational inefficiencies that highlight disrupting financial services. As such, there is a developing discussion about how blockchain can give decentralized answers to tackle a significant number of the issues being faced by trade finance.

One such arrangement is real-time visibility, which is available through means of permissioned admittance to approved organization clients and provides buyers & sellers remarkable transparency into the current situation of their transaction.

This individual source of truth and utilization of smart contracts could eliminate several issues in the paper-heavy processes that present in trade finance, such as negotiations of letters of credit. In addition to this, settlement absolution eliminates the requirement for middle people to perform compromises. All of these applications are capable of streamlining the processes.

Composed action

To entirely shift towards a truly digitized and connected ecosystem for trade finance, huge adoption on the worldwide level is essential. This complex network effect can only be achieved if the technology providers prefer forward-thinking and comprehensive integrated solutions that decrease the obstacles to entry for all kinds of firms involved in the trading processes.

If only a couple of firms adopt a blockchain solution for invoice financing, such as, the solution is pointless if one firm is required to trade with another that has not adopted any technology. All other benefits of blockchain networks include speed, efficiency, and decreased costs mean nothing if the platform is not being used to connect with the important counterparties.

Marco Polo is a vital illustration of a solution meant for its market. This network provides an open enterprise software platform for trade & working capital finance to banks and corporates and enables them to secure the exchange of data and assets between parties. The network supports blockchain to provide a speedy and safe way to access working capital and suitable solutions to provide trade finance. It was introduced in 2017 to the market as an integrated solution to cope up with the complex trade finance difficulties including lack of connectivity, time-taking processes, and high onboarding expenses.

Although blockchain is capable of revolutionizing trade finance, it is unreasonable to expect an industry that is as yet one stage behind to embrace innovation in a 'huge explosion' moment. In reality, most organizations will keep on utilizing their long-standing inheritance frameworks all through this progress to a completely digitized space. Blockchain platforms that provide high levels of interoperability with existing foundations will in this way demonstrate themselves to be the best fit for the purpose in the transition to digitization.


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