letters of credit

Disconnect: Business and Government in Trade Financing

Bewildered is not the right term.  But here is an example.  Many different speakers addressed the issue of trade financing.  They wanted to know why trade financing is still handled today like it was hundreds of years ago, with physical letters of credit demanded in a world that otherwise seems to get by with the push of a button.  Instead, speakers wanted to talk about the digitization of financing or even about the use of blockchain. I’m not certain about this of course, since we had no officials in the room to ask.  But based on my experience with a variety of Asian governments, I’m guessing that many (and certainly not all) would have had no idea what digitization of financing even means, let alone what a blockchain is or what it does or how it might apply to trade.  None of the business speakers ever bothered to explain these concepts.  Nor did anyone really address the practical obstacles that might be preventing the adoption of such concepts to trade today.