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G20: Working group meet calls for paperless international trade

An official statement said digitalisation of international trade could be an effective solution towards achieving cost reduction in trade and trade finance

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Shreya Nandi New Delhi

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Panelists at the first day of the G20’s trade and investment working group meeting recommended that all nations endeavour to adopt enabling legislation to achieve paperless international trade in the next few years.

An official statement said digitalisation of international trade could be an effective solution towards achieving cost reduction in trade and trade finance. “The challenges to be addressed in digitalising trade were identified as international cooperation in harmonising definitions, standards and data sharing across the borders digitally,” it said.

Government officials had earlier said most of the countries had built digital infrastructure in building documentation related to import-export and Customs declaration, among others. However, one of the critical documents – bill of lading, which provides key details of the goods being transported – is still in the form. While there have been no official details regarding the same, India hopes to take up such issues at the ongoing meet. 

Under India’s Presidency, G20’s trade and investment working group kick-started the three-day meet in Mumbai on Tuesday. The first day saw deliberation on trade finance cooperation among G20 member countries.

The meeting saw panel discussions on the role of banks, financial institutions, development finance institutions, and export credit agencies to identify the gaps and address the challenges in the trade finance arena amid uncertainty in global trade.

“The second panel discussion focused on accelerating digitalisation and fintech solutions for improving access to trade finance. The session also delved on the current and emerging fintech solutions for making more customised lending decisions and enhancing trade finance supply for MSMEs,” the statement said.

There were also discussions regarding the fact that evolution of fintechs and account aggregators in the ecosystem enables transaction risk evaluation based on real time data. This will enable cost effective appraisal by trade finance providers.

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First Published: Mar 28 2023 | 8:40 PM IST

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