Revving Up: How The Digitalisation Of Trade And Trade Finance Is Accelerating

Never miss a recording again; click here subscribe to Z/Yen's YouTube account .

Background: Global and domestic economies depend upon trade and related trade finance. For centuries, trade and trade finance transactions have been recorded in paper documents. Cross-border trade transactions (totalling more than US$18 trillion annually) involve vast numbers of these paper documents that must pass through the hands of many parties. This process is slow, inefficient, costly, error and fraud prone, environmentally unsound and contributes to a trade finance gap of up to US$2.5 trillion affecting mainly SMEs, prompting the ICCUK-C4DTI to observe: “[T]he trading system suffers from antiquated laws and a lack of standardisation.”

Recent decades have witnessed a remarkable digital transformation in the conduct of commerce, with a phenomenal shift from paper-based to electronic processes. That shift is now accelerating in trade and trade finance, supported by law reform. Our two expert presenters will illustrate the immense benefits that proven digital technologies, like blockchain DLT, offer trade and trade finance. They will highlight recent developments in industry, and in legal reforms, as key trade and finance participants - and government entities - hasten to implement simpler, more efficient, secure, sustainable and inclusive digital trade and trade finance processes.


John Taylor is an Hon. Professor of International Finance and Trade Law, Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London. He also works as an independent advisor on international law, finance, trade and sustainability. Among other initiatives, he is the co-founder of the Centre for Applied Sustainable Transition Law (CASTL).
John has had a career of more than 50 years in law and international finance including: private practise of law in Australia and in USA; as International Director of BLP (now BCLP) in London; and many years as an in-house lawyer with three international financial institutions (including as General Counsel of the EBRD) and several major corporations. In many of these positions, he has advised on legal aspects of international trade, and in the past decade (particularly as a Member of the Bankers Association for Finance and Trade - BAFT), his work has increasingly focused on the modernisation of international trade finance, especially through digitalisation where law reform has an essential role to play.

Chris Southworth is Secretary General at ICC United Kingdom and a regular voice for business in the international media. He is also co-founder of the UK Centre for Digital Trade and Innovation and acts as the ICC representative to The Commonwealth as well as Co-Chair of the B2B Cluster for the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda. He is a member of the ICC World Council as well as the International Advisory Boards of the Digital Trade Network and Queen Mary-UNIDROIT Institute of Transnational Commercial Law. Prior to joining ICC, Chris was Executive Director for Global Partnerships, at the British Chambers of Commerce, Head of the International Chambers of Commerce Unit at UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and a Senior Policy Advisor to Lord Heseltine, former Deputy Prime Minister, for his independent review of UK competitiveness. In 2011 he was advisor to the Minister for Trade and Investment for the government review of mid-size businesses and consequent establishment of the mid-size business export programme.

Thursday, 04 April 2024

11:00 - 11:45 BST


df logo

Share this event on social media:


  • john taylor
    John Taylor
    Professor of International Finance and Trade Law
    Centre for Commercial Law Studies at Queen Mary University of London
  • Chris_Southworth_480x480
    Chris Southworth
    Secretary General
    ICC United Kingdom
  • Hugh_Morris_emailcompressed
    Hugh Morris
    Senior Research Partner
    Z/Yen Group

svg.lf_footer_svg{ height: 30px; width: 30px; }