Banking & finance

Sustainable transformation: ICC Banking Commission Annual Meeting concludes in Beijing

  • 12 April 2019

From the introduction of alternative trade finance providers to the growing interest in blockchain, the banking industry continues to undergo change.

The ICC Banking Commission Annual Meeting concluded this Thursday, with in-depth discussions on the latest policy and regulatory changes affecting the industry. Panels covered the latest on Basel IV, the e-compatibility of ICC rules, and the impact of emerging technologies on banking procedures.

Belt and Road Initiative presents opportunities within Asia and globally

Kicking off the last day of the Annual Meeting, Olivier Paul, Head of Policy at the ICC Banking Commission, moderated a panel covering all things related to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, including its importance for regional and global trade. Following a brief overview of the national strategic ambitions of the Belt and Road Initiative, the panel explored wider opportunities for banks, multilaterals, ECAs and governments.

Blockchain consortia – the future of trade finance?

The final day of this year’s Annual Meeting included a blockchain panel, which analysed the importance of collaboration between technology companies and banks. The panel concluded this would require a blockchain consortia to enable cooperation between all stages of the trade finance ecosystem.

Led by David Bischof, Senior Policy Manager at ICC Banking Commission, the discussion explored how banks and business can work together to help improve the trade finance sector as a whole. The panel concluded that the adoption of a common regulatory framework is a critical step for blockchain providers moving forward. In order for blockchain to become an integral part of the international trade system, leaders from across the banking sector will need to come together to develop common rules and regulations.

New rules for digital trade finance

The afternoon sessions featured discussions on making trade finance processes and rules fit for the digital age.

David Bischof presented updated findings from the ICC Working Group on Digitalisation in Trade Finance, including the e-compatibility of ICC rules and standards for digital connectivity. The final votes on the revised Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (eUCP) and Electronic Presentation for Collections (eURC) were also presented. Based upon electronic voting results, the revised eUCP received 100% approval with two countries abstaining. Meanwhile, the first ever eURC received a 97.5% approval (on a weighted basis) with only one county voting ‘no’ and two countries abstaining.

Following Mr Bischof’s presentation, Chris Southworth, Secretary General of ICC United Kingdom, presented an update of the ICC Digital Roadmap. Launched last year at the ICC Banking Commission Technical Meeting in Tbilisi, this project aims to identify and support innovation and standardisation of rules for digital trade finance.

Sustainability in trade finance

Finally, one of the last panels of the day focused on the topic of sustainability.

As the trade finance sector continues to consider the importance of sustainability, this session examined how banks can participate in the emerging “green revolution”. The panel also provided insight from ICC’s Sustainable Trade Finance Working Group and updating the audience on industry-wide progress regarding sustainable trade finance.

As banks face increased expectations from their stakeholders, the Working Group is developing a set of guidelines applicable to trade finance and supply chain finance transactions.

With a core mission of integrating environmental due diligence into trade finance transactions, the working group is conducting a pilot focusing on agricultural commodities.

In turn, the IFC’s Global Map of Environmental & Social Risk in Agro-commodity Production (GMAP) was launched at this year’s Annual Meeting – enabling users to conduct rapid environmental and social due diligence associated with trade and short-term finance. This tool now includes freshly integrated data from IFC’s Sustainability Standards Map tool, allowing users to identify the applicable certification schemes that cover the risks identified with a combination of an agro-commodity and its country of sourcing.

Follow @ICCBanking on Twitter to look back at the 2019 Annual Meeting and stay up-to-date with the latest news and events from the ICC Banking Commission.

We thank Bank of China, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Atradius, BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank, Finastra, Surecomp, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, China Construction Bank, China Development Bank, The Export-Import Bank of China, ICBC, J.P. Morgan, Bank of Communications, Bureau van Dijk, Santander, Standard Bank, Pelican and UniCredit for their kind support.