top of page


The closer that core business and data architectures are for trade-related processes, the simpler cross-platform integration becomes.
The ICC Digital Standards Initiative's focus is to help developers save time on designing solutions and to help simplify integration into larger business networks.

Foundational Standards

The ICC Digital Standards Initiative recognises the importance of foundational standards for electronic trade documentation developed by the International Standards Organization. (ISO).


Existing ISO standards, such as those for currencies, country codes, messaging, date and time, provide critical guidance of trade digitisation New standards on invoicing, purchase orders, and warehouse receipts are also forthcoming. Explore these resources on the ISO website:



The production and distribution of goods and services are increasingly organised in global value chains supported by electronic communication. A cornerstone of engagement between different supply chain component parts is the efficient and effective identification of subjects and objects. Transferring a document from one supplier to another or enabling visibility of goods travelling through a supply chain requires the use of identity standards.


The ICC Identity Management guide provides business leaders and policymakers with an extensive overview of the identity landscape.


Legal Entity Identifiers (LEI)

Established by the Financial Stability Board in June 2014, the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) is tasked to support the implementation and use of the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI). The foundation is backed and overseen by the LEI Regulatory Oversight Committee, representing public authorities from around the globe that have come together to jointly drive forward transparency within the global financial markets. GLEIF is a supra-national not-for-profit organization headquartered in Basel, Switzerland. 


GLEIF makes available the Global LEI Index; i.e. the only global online source that provides open, standardized and high-quality legal entity reference data. By doing so, GLEIF enables people and businesses to make smarter, less costly and more reliable decisions about who to do business with. 


Unique document creation and validation

Trade and supply chain processes are paper heavy with various different forms of documentation being transferred between different companies and government agencies. Trade documentation can be categorised into 2 groups:


The first is transferable documents. Trade documents that entitle the holder to claim the performance of an obligation or ownership (e.g. bills of lading, bills of exchange, etc.). The second group is normal documents, Other non-transferable trade documents that do not confer ownership  (e.g. invoices, packing list, certificate of origin, etc.)


Lack of legal certainty on the use electronic transferable documents is one of the main reasons for limited success in digitalising trade documentation. Ensuring the trusted and reliable exchange of digital documentation between parties requires a mechanism that is platform-agnostic and guarantees integrity, singularity and control.



Developed by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) of Singapore, TradeTrust comprises a set of globally accepted standards and frameworks that support the exchange of electronic trade documents. This approach removes the need for expensive data exchange infrastructure to be built and yet can scale easily. Its open source code is free to use and designed to help systems effectively interoperate thereby accelerating digital innovation for global cross-border trade.


Using distributed ledger technology (DLT), TradeTrust will provide participants with the assurance of authenticity and provenance for trade documents, as well as the ability to perform legally-valid performance-obligation transfers of electronic transferable records (ETRs) like eBLs. In March 2021, Singapore has also enacted amendments to its laws which enables the creation and use of electronic transferable records like electronic Bills of Lading (eBLs) that are legally equivalent to its paper counterparts.


Electronic Title Documentation

Trading around the world is enabled through a range of document types, including bills of exchange and bills of lading. A person in possession of a document of title can receive, hold, sell or otherwise dispose of the document and the goods described in it.


Electronic Bill of Lading (eBL)

The Bill of Lading (B/L) for containers is one of the key documents in international trade. For Container-based shipping, it confers title to the underlying goods, evidence of the contract of carriage and confirmation of receipt of the goods. The DCSA is leading a process to develop open-source standards for necessary legal terms and conditions, as well as definitions and terminology to facilitate communication among customers, container carriers, regulators, financial institutions and other industry stakeholders. Planned outputs include process maps, definitions, data fields and information models.


Uniform rules for digital trade transactions

The International Chamber of Commerce’s Uniform Rules for Digital Trade Transactions (URDTT) is a high-level framework for rules and obligations covering the use of electronic records to process digital trade transactions.

Abstract Lines

URDTT is designed to be compatible with UNCITRAL model laws, including on e-commerce, e-signatures and electronic transferable records.  

bottom of page