Talking Trade Finance

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

New Coronavirus and force majeure clauses

Posted by Katharine Wheatcroft on Feb 24, 2020 1:16:12 PM

By Katharine Wheatcroft and Duncan Burrell

As the so-called COVID-19 virus continues to spread in China and this week also in Italy, Iran and Korea, with almost 80,000 confirmed cases and over 2,000 dead as of late February, the world’s second largest economy is struggling to get back to work, and other economies are feeling the effects.

Within the trade sphere, worker shortages, transport disruption and heavy government restrictions have meant that many of the corporations that drive China’s economy, the world’s largest importer of raw materials, are starting to review their international supply and demand contracts.

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Topics: Trade & Export Finance, Force majeure

Challenges facing trade and commodity finance in 2020

Posted by Sullivan trainee Rajan Dhami and partner Simon Cook on Feb 12, 2020 5:30:41 PM

Sullivan Monthly Breakfast Seminar, 23 January 2020

At Sullivan's January 2020 London Breakfast Briefing, Sam Fowler-Holmes provided an overview of key challenges facing the trade finance sector in 2020. From sanctions to LIBOR, with a hint of Brexit, Sam covered a broad range of topical issues.

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Topics: Brexit, LIBOR, trade finance breakfast seminar, ESG, Fintech, Fifth AML Directive

Sullivan Celebrates Six Years in London

Posted by Simon Cook on Nov 22, 2019 1:59:54 PM

The London office of international law firm Sullivan was celebrating the completion of its sixth successful year in London last night, at its annual party.

The event was held at Paul, at the ground floor entrance to Tower 42, the home of Sullivan’s London office in the City.

Over 150 guests enjoyed music, magic and a gin bar until late in the evening, with a few continuing until the small hours.

Geoffrey Wynne, Head of the Trade & Export Finance Group and Sullivan's London office, commented:

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The ICC publishes Incoterms 2020

Posted by Francesca Umicini-Clark on Oct 2, 2019 1:23:13 PM


By Rajan Dhami, Francesca Umicini-Clark and Simon Cook

On 10 September 2019, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) issued a much anticipated set of revisions to the Incoterms – the international commercial terms published to clarify the obligations of buyers and sellers in trade contracts, which will come into force on 1 January 2020. In a further attempt to adapt to current commercial practices and provide innovative solutions, Incoterms 2020 have introduced a number of significant changes.

The most notable changes include:

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Topics: Trade & Export Finance, ICC

Sullivan UK Ranked in the 2020 Edition of The Legal 500 UK

Posted by Simon Cook on Sep 27, 2019 2:34:43 PM

Leading independent legal directory, The UK Legal 500, 2020, was published last night. In the Trade Finance category Sullivan is ranked, for the sixth consecutive year, in the top tier.

Geoffrey Wynne is included in the UK Legal 500 ‘Hall of Fame’ 2020 for his trade finance experience, and both Simon Cook and Mark Norris are listed as ‘Leading Individuals’. Managing associate Hannah Fearn is again included as a ‘Rising Star’ and associate Sam Fowler-Holmes recognised for his structured and unstructured trade finance.

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ITFA launches new Unfunded Master Risk Participation Agreement

Posted by Geoff Wynne on Sep 12, 2019 8:30:39 AM

Early in September ITFA launched its new Unfunded Master Risk Participation Agreement (MRPA) and associated user guidelines for use by its members. Later this month it has also arranged for Sullivan to issue a CRR compliant legal opinion.

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Sullivan Wins Third Trade Finance Award in 2019

Posted by Simon Cook on Jun 28, 2019 11:44:49 AM

I am very pleased to announce that Sullivan's trade and export finance team has won its third significant trade finance award in 2019.

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Topics: Trade & Export Finance

ITFA publishes revised guidelines on CRR-compliant insurance policies

Posted by Geoff Wynne on Jun 12, 2019 10:34:30 AM

This week ITFA published its revised guidelines on CRR-compliant insurance policies. The guidelines were first published in 2016 to assist banks with navigating the complex rules for credit risk mitigation that apply to non-payment insurance policies.

Sullivan's London insurance team is very pleased to have worked with ITFA to update the guidelines to reflect recent regulatory developments, including the Prudential Regulation Authority's policy statement on the use of certain types of credit risk mitigation (published in March of this year).

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Topics: ITFA, CRR, Credit risk mitigation

New ITFA Guide to IFRS 9 for the Trade Receivables and Supply Chain Finance Industry

Posted by Simon Cook on Jun 3, 2019 3:44:43 PM

ITFA has published "A guide to accounting and legal issues under IFRS 9 for the trade receivables and supply chain finance industry."

These are ITFA's first set of guidelines on the standards aimed solely at the trade and supply chain finance industry, since the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) issued IFRS 9, which came into force on January 1, 2018.

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Topics: ITFA, IFRS 9, Supply chain finance

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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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