As the last leaves of autumn were falling and we prepared ourselves for winter, experts, practitioners and advisers from the global trade community descended on London for the ICC Banking Commission Technical Meeting, hosted by ICC UK.
Four days of technical reviewing, debate and networking with the goal of ensuring workable rules and regulations are maintained, which enable financial institutions to support and facilitate global trade flows.
The first two days were focused on the very important role of the commission, which is to ensure that rules and guidelines governing the trade finance industry remain relevant and are adapted to the on-going changes within the industry. A number of working groups have been set up by the ICC, on important topics, including Financial Crime Risk and Policy, Sustainability in Trade Finance and Digitalisation. The latter recently set up to meet the rapid developments in this area of trade finance. Our very own, David Morrish, is a member of the Task Force on Guarantees, chaired by Andrea Hauptmann, who is our Chief Examiner for our Certificate for Specialists in Demand Guarantees (CSDG ®).
Global Growth Looking Positive
Following these two days of intensive discussion, the various working groups provided an update to the ICC members during the Plenary Meeting, which was kicked off by a thought provoking speech on “Global Banking & Financing Priorities” given by Sir Michael Rake, Chairman, ICC UK. The day also included a “Brexit Update” from Jeremy Browne from The Corporation of London, which, as ever, provoked a lot of discussion, and an excellent presentation on “The Outlook for Global Trade Finance” given by Samantha Amerasinghe, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank. Following a number of years of global slowdown, it was good to hear that the prospects for global growth were now positive. However, geopolitical tensions, automation and 3D printing are some of the challenges to global supply chains. The presentation also reiterated the trends in trade finance, such as open account trading, challenges in compliance and capital requirements, the increase in use of automation and mobile technologies and SME finance.
The subject of SME Finance was one of the themes of the ICC UK Trade Finance Conference - “Access to Finance – Unblocking Global Growth”. Very relevant, as it is at the forefront in the minds of governments and the financial community worldwide, in their efforts to reduce the significant global trade gap of USD 1.6 trillion. The panel discussion on “Stability or growth” was a particularly lively debate.
The topics presented and debated during the panel sessions, continued to be discussed during the networking breaks throughout the two days, as did the topic of education. In particular, the role it plays in the development of trade and being part of the mix of ingredients required to reduce that trade finance gap.