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Same Documents, Less Paper - First Legislative Steps to Digitalising Trade


The Electronic Trade Documents Bill aims to end the need for paper-based trading documentation. The Bill will make digital documentation legally recognised and, as such, will put it on a level playing field with paper-based documentation.


Currently there is an estimated 28.5 billion paper trade documents printed around the world daily. This Bill will remove this paper-based requirement and make trade easier, faster and cheaper. The ICC estimate that by removing the requirement for paper-based documentation, we can “generate £225 billion in efficiency savings, £25 billion in SME trade growth and £1 billion new trade finance”.


This Bill entered Parliament on 12th October and similar legislation and movements towards paperless trade are being made in each of the other G7 countries and, continues to be a commitment and area of discussion within the Government’s FTA programme. As well as being an inevitable global movement, this Bill (and the move to paperless trade) will pave the way for the UK to meet their 2025 UK Border Strategy aims.

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