In the Queen's Speech (the start of the new UK parliamentary term) on 10th May 2022, His Royal Highness the Prince Of Wales and the UK Prime Minister announced the Electronic Trade Documents Bill. This means that very soon legal barriers to digitalising commercial trade documents in English Law will be dismissed and we can aim for a paperless world.
Now that it has been announced, the Bill will be taken through the parliament before it comes into force, which might tentatively be sometime in 2023. The Electronic Trade Documents Bill will be a significant step forward in finally merging trade to the modern era as this announcement will change the face of digitization and the world will see the use of electronic documents on a full scale.
The central purpose of this bill is to ensure that electronic commercial trade documents and paper documents have the same legal status, thereby aiming to remove unnecessary bureaucracy and extravagant paperwork. Once passed, this will authorise businesses to shift to digital-based transactions instead of paper-based ones when they are selling or buying internationally, helping them increase their efficiency and supporting economic growth in the process. This bill will expand and apply across the United Kingdom. Some of the primary elements of the bill include:
The Electronic Trade Documents Bill is meant to lower trade administration costs for businesses and increase the overall efficiency because the processing time of the same is faster than paper documents and it is a cheaper alternative as well.
By making use of the traceability and transparency benefits offered by electronic documents, companies can raise the compliance and security of trade. Opting for a digital documentation process and reducing the use of paper & courier emissions in the administration of trade also means that one can contribute to the environment to a large extent.
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