Developing e-compliance in ICC rules: an update


As mentioned in a previous blog, the ICC has established a new Working Group on Digitalisation, with its inaugural meeting held in Jakarta prior to the most recent ICC Banking Commission plenary session.


The ICC Banking Commission, in its press release of 6 June 2017, announced the launch of the "Digitalisation of Trade Finance Working Group".

  • The working group will coordinate all work relating to the digitalisation of trade finance. 
  • Its aims are to help the trade finance industry accelerate its progress towards greater digitalisation. 
  • The trade finance industry is undergoing a massive transformation - from time-consuming and cumbersome manual processes involving paper-based instruments such as Letters of Credit, to an automated and digitised future. 

The working group's core activities are threefold:

1)   "E-compatibility" of ICC rules for trade finance. The group will evaluate ICC rules, such as the Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (UCP), in order to assess e-compatibility and ensure they are "e-compliant?. This will enable banks to accept data rather than documents. 

2)   Standards. In order to remove uncertainty in the industry and accelerate the uptake of digitalisation, the group will develop a set of minimum standards for the digital connectivity of service providers - particularly across legal, liability, information security and technology. 

3)   Legal status. The group will examine the legal and practical issues related to the validity and value of data and documents in digitised form. For instance, it will conduct a legal survey to understand how the rights of third parties compare under paper and electronic bills of lading.

Dave Meynell and Gary Collyer are co-chairing the e-compatibility sub-working group.


As a first step, members of the ‘e-compatibility' working group were asked to comment on a review of all existing ICC rules in respect of digital data. Subsequent to the initial evaluation, it was concluded that two pieces of work needed to be taken forward: an update of the existing eUCP rules and the formulation of new rules covering electronic presentation for collections (eURC).


Preliminary drafts of the proposed wording for both eUCP Version 2.0 and eURC Version 1.0 were sent to ICC National Committees for comment with a deadline of 27th November 2017 for response.

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