Any system will have to be able to handle and verify
the compliance of all types of international trade documentation. From
commercial documents to government-issued certificates and financial settlement
tools such as document compliance checking and exchange of business documents
against payment, so eliminating expensive and time-consuming manual activities.
Also, in a properly established system electronic documents of title should
provide a basis for trade goods to be used as collateral for financing.
Finally, the overall aim should be to connect the entire trade community:
exporters, importers, carriers, banks and other intermediaries, thereby making
the movement of goods and financial settlement cycles entirely paperless.
Different options include web-based browser
solutions that focus on particular functions, industries or geographic sectors.
Other solutions such as TradeCard, SurePay and Identrus focus more on financial
settlement. Some existing service providers restrict themselves to specific
markets, some overlap with others, and in some cases they are complementary.
In the United States cotton trade there is another
type of service provider, which focuses on the issue and registry of warrants
for the cotton industry, regulated through the United States Department of
Agriculture. (USDA monitors ERW Inc., the cotton trade's service provider, but
does not guarantee its performance.) The Uniform Commercial Code in each state
of the United States spells out the power of an original warehouse receipt; if a
state says that a paper warehouse receipt is the primary document, then all
claims based on an electronic receipt would be subordinate. For agricultural
commodities federal law therefore stipulates that electronic warehouse receipts
are primary documents. Electronic warehouse receipts have been used in the
United States cotton trade since the early 1990s.