On the 12th of Oct 2022, The Electronic Trade Documents Bill (HL Bill 57) was introduced in the House of Lords in the UK Parliament to provide digital trade documents the same legal footing as its paper-based equivalents..
The Electronic Trade Documents Bill will modernise old legislation such as the Bills of Exchange Act 1882 and the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1992, and will make the UK one of the biggest global trading countries in the world to legalise electronic trade documents..
At present, the bill is nearing its final stages of ascension into law, subsequent to the House of Lords approval of the amendments proposed by the House of Commons..
The amendments mainly pertain to the sharing of legislative power with the Parliament of Scotland.
As per Luca Castellani, all that remains now is for the bill to receive Royal Assent in order to become law..
In his Executive Insights with this site, Chris Southworth, Secretary General of ICC United Kingdom and Co-chair of the Legal Reform Advisory Board for ICC’s Digital Standards Initiative had previously commented that
- The UK, to their credit, secured a G7 ministerial commitment to getting the big economies on board as it represents about 40% of global trade
- On a practical level, in trade, 80% of bills of lading all operate on English law and therefore legal systems in the UK or English law had to be right up there on the priority list and when this comes into force it’s going to breathe some oxygen and put some rocket boosters under the digitalization of trade.
- Digitalization is not going to happen in a day and there will be a hybrid world for some time. The ICC has set a very ambitious target to cover 60 to 80% of the world’s trading environment in the enabling legislation of the MLETR. 40-50% are currently working on it and with only another 10%, that objective will be met in the short to medium term.
The Bill has been significantly influenced by the MLETR and the passing of the same by the UK is of paramount importance to the digitization of global trade as English law has been long established as a favored law of choice by many jurisdictions to govern commercial contracts..
The UK is the 6th largest economy in the world and is the first G7 country to act in terms of ratifying the MLETR.. The passing of this bill is expected to make a huge impact on the digitization of trade and could spur many of UK’s trading partners to follow suit..