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  • Writer's pictureHarri Rantanen, SEB & Standardised Trust

This is not an island, this is an ocean.

It was finally time to meet face-to-face, without Teams or any other video meeting tool, on the 27th of September 2022, at the OP Financial Group premises in Vallila, Helsinki, Finland. International Trade and Forfaiting Association (ITFA), Finnish Fintech Ecosystem (FFE) and Standardised Trust (ST) community arranged an event for the transaction banking trends updates and latest news under the header of “Way forward and ongoing global initiatives on transaction banking”.

Before the actual event, on the previous day afternoon, we had our Standardised Trust community Plenary meeting, also face-to-face, with a retrospective on achievements and planning the future how to go forward with this voluntary and non-budget group of Trade Finance experts from corporations, vendors and banks. After the Plenary meeting, we had a pre-event with a mingle approach to share latest news, experiences and developments during the covid-19 pandemic and simply enjoying the possibility to meet each other in the very same room, and live. It seemed to be very therapeutic and welcomed by all.

But back to actual event on the 27th of September. I had a big pleasure to have a case study discussion and presentation of the Standardised Trust community with Kone’s Trade Finance manager, Ms. Seija Haavisto-Virtanen, who has been one of the key and active working group members for many years in the community. Within the event programme, I felt very refreshing to have the voice of a Trade Finance end-user heard without any link to a bank, vendor or platform but coming from this open and transparent knowledge sharing point-of-view, how we work at the Standardised Trust community. Seija confirmed that there is a need to work towards openness, standards and fixed market practices to get the effectiveness reached by digitalisation efforts. And the same trend can be seen now in the whole trade domain with good speed.

Yet without openly available documentation, development resources and access to common standards, the risk of digital islands arise. Within those islands, by platform or system rulebooks signed, the members may run already now digital Trade Finance transactions using uniform rules and digital trade transaction guidelines. The problem still will be there if a digital island non-member would like to be part of the transaction processing and the common rulebook will not anymore apply. How can we ensure ability to interoperate and share data in a standard structured format to sill act digitally and do that in a secure manner?

Good developments are ongoing in the legal framework in trade by the help of UNCITRAL’s MLETR (Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records) making finally the trade and its financing digital even on legal framework basis. Yet this will take time and meanwhile we will need communities like Standardised Trust and collaboration by the various stakeholder groups to create common and understandable language for Trade Finance. That is exactly the work in progress by the Standardised Trust working group. Building up boats and vessels to travel easily with data cargo from one digital island to another and use the ocean as a common data transfer mechanism and a pool of freely available common development resources. In our community all the bill of ladings are made of pure and semantically understandable information. Freely available for others travelling between the islands over the oceans of the digital world. Join us and let us enjoy your contribution.

Coordinator of the Standardised Trust community

Business Developer at Corporate Banking, SEB

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