Today is the Day! Welcome to the Electronic Trade Documents Act

Sullivan & Worcester

Edited by: Matilda Johnson and Geoffrey Wynne

Today is the day, the Electronic Trade Documents Act (ETDA) is now in force! Although a short piece of legislation, it is flexible and seeks to give certain trade-related electronic documents the same legal recognition as their paper counterparts. This will help to move at least some of the sizeable trade market into the digital era.

It is no secret that the ETDA will offer a certain level of clarity to help mold responses to the ever-growing number of questions and approaches put forward by clients and industry bodies that are looking to use digital solutions for trade and trade finance facilities and finance transactions. However, the flexibility afforded by the ETDA means that different players in the industry could take a range of different approaches in order to create an end to end digital, ETDA-compliant, trade or trade finance transaction.

There are a number of parties seeking advice to determine how best to deal with their digital solutions for trade such as key legal and operational elements not covered by the ETDA, including governing law considerations and the issues presented around the flexible, technology neutral concept of a "reliable system." No doubt many solutions will emerge.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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