Talking Trade Finance

Meeting the Challenges Covid-19 Poses for Trade Finance Transactions: Key Issues to Consider When Making Amendments and Waivers

Posted by Sam Fowler-Holmes on Sep 2, 2020 9:59:50 AM

This article is the second in a series looking at how to address some of the issues affecting trade finance documentation and transactions in the current climate.

The first article in this series analysed some of the issues that parties to a trade finance transaction should be aware of when considering amendments and waivers to their written contracts. This article continues to explore the issues that arise in connection with amendments and waivers, focusing first on the common question of how best to document an agreed amendment or waiver to an English law contract, and then considering how amendments or waivers to one contract can potentially (and possibly detrimentally) impact a party’s rights under a connected contract, and finally how to take steps to avoid or mitigate such impact.

How should I document an amendment or waiver in a trade finance transaction?

The starting point is always to consider any requirements set out in the relevant contract. Even if a contract is silent as to how it should be amended or waived, it is advisable to make any amendment or waiver in writing as, if well drafted, doing so helps to mitigate any later dispute about the intended scope or effect of the amendment or waiver.

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Topics: Trade Finance, COVID-19

Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020

Posted by Geoff Wynne on Aug 21, 2020 11:09:24 AM

Written by: Geoffrey Wynne, Alexandra Shipulina and Szonja Kolbenheyer (trainee solicitor)

The Act

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Topics: coronavirus, COVID-19, Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act

Meeting the Challenges COVID-19 Poses for Trade Finance Transactions: Amendments and Waivers

Posted by Sam Fowler-Holmes on Jun 17, 2020 12:14:31 PM

This alert is the first in a series addressing the issues affecting trade finance documentation and transactions in the current climate.

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Topics: Trade Finance, COVID-19

Business Interruption — FCA Test Case

Posted by Marian Boyle on Jun 5, 2020 9:28:36 AM

Greater clarity for policyholders suffering business interruption losses due to Covid-19 — the FCA test case

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Topics: Insurance, business interruption, financial conduct authority

Insurance Claims - Tips for Commercial Policyholders

Posted by Marian Boyle on May 28, 2020 1:50:22 PM

Most commercial insurance policies are taken out in the expectation that a claim will never be necessary. For the most part, this expectation is borne out by experience, with the result that when the loss or damage occurs, policyholders are often unprepared for the claims process and are unsure about the obligations they will be expected to perform.

This article provides some practical tips for commercial policyholders to consider when a claim arises, along with recommendations to help smooth the claims process.

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Topics: insurance disputes, commercial insurance policies

Can’t We Just Work This Out? Options Available in the UK to Help SMEs Stay Healthy During the Pandemic

Posted by Geoff Wynne on May 5, 2020 3:42:22 PM

Written by: Geoffrey Wynne and Ryan Johnson (trainee solicitor)

The emergence of COVID-19 (the Coronavirus) at the end of 2019 has had an unprecedented impact on the global economic system. This alert focuses on the effect the Coronavirus pandemic is likely to have on small and medium sized businesses (SMEs), their lenders in the UK and the options available to continue trading and avoid insolvency. It will also consider recent measures that have been proposed by the UK Government to enable businesses to avoid insolvency during this pandemic, specifically the temporary changes to the insolvency rules and the financial support being offered by the UK Government.

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Topics: coronavirus, COVID-19, Trade and Export Finance

Sullivan Wins GTR "Best Trade Finance Law Firm" 2020 Award

Posted by Simon Cook on Apr 29, 2020 10:07:27 AM

London, UK – International law firm Sullivan is delighted to announce that it has again been named "Best Trade Finance Law Firm" by leading trade finance publication Global Trade Review (GTR) at its 2020 Leaders in Trade awards, announced today.

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Topics: Trade & Export Finance, Global Trade Review

The ICC Calls on Governments to Allow for Digital Authentication and Delivery of Trade Documents, in Light of the Covid-19-Induced Disruptions

Posted by Geoff Wynne on Apr 17, 2020 12:24:52 PM

By Geoff Wynne and trainee Szonja Kolbenheyer at Sullivan in London

On 6 April 2020, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) published an urgent memorandum addressed to governments and Central Banks, urging them to take the necessary steps towards the immediate transition from mandating the use of paper-based trade documentation to recognising digital authentication and delivery of documents as a legally binding and enforceable alternative.

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Topics: ICC, ICC Rules, International Chamber of Commerce, Trade and Export Finance

The ICC’s Response to Covid-19 in Relation to Force Majeure under its Rules

Posted by Geoff Wynne on Apr 14, 2020 10:37:44 AM

By Geoffrey Wynne and trainee Szonja Kolbenheyer at Sullivan in London

On 7 April 2020, the International Chamber of Commerce ("ICC") published a paper titled "Guidance paper on the impact of COVID-19 on trade finance transactions issued subject to ICC rules."

This paper addressed the question as to whether banks and guarantors could seek to apply force majeure as a result of Covid-19, as a defence to non-performance. The key consideration is whether Covid-19 amounts to an interruption of their respective businesses or to an event beyond their control. This paper also considered the issues currently faced around the delivery of documents in trade finance transactions. The ICC looked at various scenarios relating to the delivery of documents under rules including UCP 600 and ISP 98 for letters of credit (‘LCs’) and URDG 758 for guarantees.

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Topics: Trade & Export Finance, Force majeure, COVID-19, ICC Rules

Covid-19 Coronavirus: What you need to know about virtual and electronic signing

Posted by Fiona Luong on Mar 30, 2020 4:36:15 PM

By Fiona Luong and Rajan Dhami

In these uncertain times, trade finance and other transaction parties may face particular logistical challenges when signing documents in person. One option available to the transaction parties is to sign documents "virtually" (in other words, signing a hard copy of a document and sending a scan of the signature page to the other side). This method of signing will be familiar to most people who have entered into transactional documents with an international counterparty. Certain formalities must be observed for virtual signings in light of the Mercury case (discussed further below).

Parties are also increasingly turning to the possibility of utilising electronic platforms for signing documents, called "e-signing" or "electronic signing".

But can electronic signing be a valid form of signing an agreement? We look in detail at the options available to those signing agreements under English law.

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Topics: electronic signatures, COVID-19, virtual signing

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About the Blog

Talking Trade Finance is here to provide you with all of the latest updates in the Trade & Export Finance Industry.

The material on this site is for general information only and is not legal advice. No liability is accepted for any loss or damage which may result from reliance on it. Always consult a qualified lawyer about a specific legal problem.

Meet the Editor


Simon Cook is a partner in the Trade & Export Finance Group in Sullivan’s London office. He has experience in a wide variety of banking and finance transactions, including structured trade and commodity finance, project finance, warehouse finance, supply chain finance, ECA finance and borrowing-base facilities. He advises on transactions across emerging markets for both lenders and borrowers notably in the oil, telecoms, soft commodities and metals sectors in Africa and the Middle East, where he was based for four years. Simon also acts for industry bodies and is a member of ITFA’s Africa Regional Committee.


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