On 6 June 2017, the ICC Banking Commission provided a press release announcing the launch of a Working Group to anticipate and accompany the digitalisation of trade finance. One core activity was to evaluate existing ICC rules in order to assess e-compatibility and ensure they are ‘e-compliant’, i.e. enabling banks to accept data vs. documents. It was identified that this was required in order to accommodate evolving practices and technologies.
A Drafting Group was established, co-chaired by David Meynell and Gary Collyer, with the initial aim of reviewing the e-compatibility of existing ICC rules. As a result of this review, a mandate was received from the ICC Banking Commission Executive Committee to:
Update the existing version 1.1 of eUCP in order to ensure continued digital compatibility; and
Draft eURC in order to ensure continued digital compatibility for presentation of electronic records under Collections.
After a 16-month long drafting and revision process, both sets of rules were approved with 100% (eUCP) and 97.5% (eURC) by ICC Banking Commission members and National Committees through ICC’s first-ever e-voting.
The eRules have been intentionally developed with version numbers so they can be updated regularly without impacting upon other existing ICC rules, thereby reducing the time required to develop any potential identified revision. The new e-rules will come into force on 1 July 2019.
ICC will make the eUCP and eURC rules available for download, free of charge, on its website prior to 1 July 2019.
Moreover, the UCP 600 and URC 522 publications will be amended with new eUCP version 2.0, and eURC version 1.0, respectively and will be available for sale by the ICC Store shortly.
Furthermore, on 5 December 2018, the ICC Banking Commission Executive Committee approved a proposal for the drafting of a new set of rules with the working title “Uniform Rules for Digital Trade”. The provisional intention is to have the first draft available to ICC National Committees before the October 2019 Banking Commission Technical Meeting in Paris. An update on progress and outline of next steps will be given during the Paris meeting.
With regard to the URBPO, the rules are unaffected by the SWIFT decision to shut down the TSU. Other industry solutions are being looked into for TSU replacement.
The ICC has issued a paper outlining the current status of its rules in the digital environment. Details can be found in the following file Commercialisation of ICC Digital Rules.pdf