When goods cross borders, many players are involved: exporters, importers, freight forwarders and logistics providers, banks as well as customs and tax authorities. Add to this list credit insurers, goods inspectors and regulatory authorities. It takes patience, trust and a lot of paperwork to dispatch goods to their destination on time. Clearly, this complex process is begging to be simplified by using modern technologies.

The more players involved, the better

Many banks and businesses are looking for a more efficient and cost-effective way to trade internationally. This is why the so-called we.trade consortium developped the new platform. UBS is one of the currently twelve European banks participating in the consortium. Further banks and other service providers are set to join the platform, which is designed as an open system and already operates in 14 countries.

Further banks and other service providers are set to join the platform, which is designed as an open system and already operates in 14 countries.

Holistic trade finance platform

We.trade enables banks to offer their clients an attractive platform to digitize the process from order creation to payment execution, and creates visibility on transaction status. Thanks to more than 400 affiliated logistics companies, it also enables tracking the flow of goods across the whole value chain. Although many exporters assume that their business with partners within Europe is only exposed to low risks, not all customers pay on time. Even payment defaults occur from time to time. In addition, the risk of cyber attacks is generally increasing. We.trade recently conducted a proof of concept to show that the platform could collaborate with eTradeConnect, a comparable platform in Hong Kong, thereby enabling a connection to the Asian markets in the future.

Automatic transactions

We.trade is an intuitive and fast digital tool that makes it easier to process, secure and finance international trade transactions. It is particularly suited to smaller transactions. Once supplier and customer are connected to the system, a transaction and the associated banking services can be initiated with just a few clicks. The platform allows payments to be triggered automatically on the basis of certain conditions, such as the delivery of the goods by the carrier, thereby meeting payment deadlines. In addition, the buyer’s bank can be instructed to guarantee payment. Thus, the online platform solves a task as old as trading itself: creating the confidence that the counterparty will fulfill its obligations arising from the commercial transaction.

Boosting efficiency and enabling new services

Worldwide, around four billion forms are currently being moved back and forth, processed and archived to document letters of credit alone. The circulation of all this paperwork is a staggering effort. However, the International Chamber of Commerce ICC estimates that, thanks to blockchain, up to 100 pages of documentation per transaction could be avoided. With we.trade, banks allow their customers to focus first and foremost on their business since time-consuming paper-based documentation will no longer be necessary. In addition, platforms such as we.trade form the basis for new technologies that will offer bank customers further efficient and cost-effective services for commercial transactions in the future.

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