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Uniform Rules for Digital Trade (URDT)


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A discussion on obligations, rules and standards for the digitalisation of trade finance.

Published in: Economy & Finance
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Uniform Rules for Digital Trade (URDT)

  1. 1. O C T O B E R 2 0 1 9 I C C B A N K I N G C O M M I S S I O N P A R I S 1 Uniform Rules for Digital Trade (URDT) D A V I D M E Y N E L L / D A V I D H E N N A H
  2. 2. Background 2 In December 2018, the ICC Banking Commission Executive Committee approved a proposal to draft a new set of rules under the working title: Uniform Rules for Digital Trade (URDT) The objective of the URDT is to develop a high-level framework outlining obligations, rules and standards for the digitalisation of trade finance.
  3. 3. Status 3 Several Drafting Group meetings have already been convened. This has resulted in the development of an initial framework and draft which, pursuant to review by the Consulting Group*, was distributed to ICC National Committees on 27 September 2019 as Draft 1. Where appropriate, wording in previously approved ICC rules has been used. * Includes Banking, FinTech, & Corporate
  4. 4. Methodology 4 Technology neutral • The approach adopted has been to produce rules that are agnostic as to the medium used to conduct the Digital Trade save that the Digital Trade has to be conducted using Electronic Records and not paper. Underlying trade transaction • That has then required the assumption that there is an underlying physical transaction for a sale and purchase or the provision of services that the Principal Parties have agreed to document electronically, including using a payment method that is itself electronic.
  5. 5. Extracts from current draft 5 Article 1 Scope • Digital Trade Transactions relate to the sale and purchase of goods or the supply and receipt of services between a Seller and a Buyer. Article 2 Application • URDT applies when agreed by the Principal Parties and are binding unless expressly modified or excluded. • This is URDT version 1.0.
  6. 6. Extracts from current draft 6 Article 3 General Definitions • Beneficiary • Buyer • Confirmation • Data Corruption • Digital Trade Transaction • Electronic Record • Electronic Signature • Finance Provider • Involved Party • Obligor • Party • Payment Obligation • Principal Party • Seller
  7. 7. Extracts from current draft 7 Article 4 Interpretations • Words in the singular include the plural and vice versa. Article 5 Electronic Records • All data to be submitted in the form of an electronic record. • A requirement that information should be in writing is satisfied when an Electronic Record containing such information is accessible.
  8. 8. Extracts from current draft 8 Article 6 Signature Outline of requirements to bind a party, including: • Consent • Method of delivery or availability of an Electronic Record • Capable of retention Article 7 Responsibilities of a Submitter and Addressee Outlines the responsibilities of a Submitter and an Addressee: • Submitter is responsible for accuracy • Addressee is not responsible for accuracy
  9. 9. Extracts from current draft 9 Article 8 Data Corruption of an Electronic Record • Actions required in the event of data corruption. • Re-submission deadline. Article 9 Non-conformity of an Electronic Record Actions required in the event of non-conformity with terms of a Digital Trade Transaction: • Replacement • Acceptance • Renegotiation
  10. 10. Extracts from current draft 10 Article 10 Responsibilities of a Principal Party Seller: • Deliver goods or supply services. • Provide supporting information. Buyer: • Accept and take delivery of goods and services. • Effect or agree to effect payment. Article 11 Responsibilities of a Finance Provider Outlines responsibilities if both Buyer and Seller have agreed terms of the Digital Trade Transaction: • Provide finance or risk mitigation • Effect payment • Add confirmation, if requested
  11. 11. Extracts from current draft 11 Article 12 Payment Obligation • Irrevocability • Data elements • Separate and independent • Conditional vs. unconditional • Creation & amendment • Confirmation • Assignment
  12. 12. Extracts from current draft 12 Article 13 Liability of a Party • Breach of responsibilities. Article 14 Amendments to a Digital Trade Transaction • Outline of the amendment procedure. Article 15 Force Majeure • Adaptation of usual force majeure article. Article 16 Governing Law and relevant Applicable Law • As specified or agreed. • Rules supplemental to applicable law. • Law prevails.
  13. 13. Contextual clarification 13 As with the recent eRules (eUCP version 2.0 & eURC version 1.0): • The aim is to align definitions with those used in local law. However, many legal definitions differ among themselves in formulation if not meaning. • As a result, URDT definitions, to the extent possible, are modelled on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on Electronic Commerce, which is the most widely imitated in eCommerce legislation. • The UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records were also used as a reference point.
  14. 14. Issues of interest - 1 14 • As observed by the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce, in most legal systems, the notion of ‘person’ is used to designate the subjects of rights and obligations and should be interpreted as covering both natural persons and corporate bodies or other legal entities. • Consistent with the approach taken in the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce, any reference in the URDT to a ‘person’ should be understood as covering all types of persons or entities, whether physical, corporate or other legal persons.
  15. 15. Issues of interest - 2 15 • Confirmation means a definite obligation of a Finance Provider, in addition to that of the Buyer, to make a payment at sight or on a fixed or determinable payment date to the Beneficiary of a Payment Obligation, upon compliance by the Seller of the terms of the Digital Trade Transaction. • Finance Provider means a financial institution or body corporate that is involved in a Digital Trade Transaction.
  16. 16. Issues of interest - 3 16 • Although there is no definition of ‘electronic’ in the URDT, such term would, by its nature, exclude paper documents. • It is essential to also note that by using the generic term ‘electronic’, the rules avoid linkage with any specific technology or platform, thereby ensuring that the rules remain technology- agnostic.
  17. 17. Next Steps 17 Feedback from ICC National Committees requested by: 8 November 2019 All comments will be reviewed and considered. Updated version will be drafted, initially for review by Consulting Group, and then for distribution to ICC National Committees.
  18. 18. Questions? 18