Course Review: Certificate in Digital Trade Strategy (CDTS)

The ICC Academy has launched a new certification programme titled “Certificate in Digital Trade Strategy”. I recently completed the course and thought I’d share my takeaways in this brief post. As a practitioner in the field of digital trade finance innovation, I’m hoping my perspective may help you assess whether the course would be useful to you as well.

Going Digital: How data is changing trade and influencing power politics

“In today’s information age, models no longer need to make assumptions about how the world looks; policymakers can use real-time data. The tools are now available to answer the question: “Who trades what with whom?”. Data will transform how to formulate policy, assess the impact of the changing trade landscape, and how banks finance trade.”

Dr Rebecca Harding is an independent economist specialising in trade and trade finance and CEO of Coriolis Technologies, providing data as a service to the trade and trade finance space.  In this interview, Rebecca explains how the role of data is influencing trade policy and unlocking new opportunities for trade financiers.

Corporate Financial Reporting: Trade finance is getting attention from standard-setters

“None of the financial reporting standards that are currently in effect ensure that financial reports are transparent with regard to trade finance programmes, and stakeholders have made it very clear that their expectations are not being met …”

Bruce Pounder is the Executive Director of GAAP Lab and a globally recognized expert on emerging issues in corporate financial reporting. In this interview, he explains why organizations that set financial reporting standards have begun to pay attention to trade finance programmes and why trade finance professionals should pay attention to what those standard-setters are doing.

Development Banking: How trade aids economic development

“One of the lessons I have learnt in my career is that trade finance is a safe business. But in order to be safe, you have to understand what you are financing and with whom you are working. So to know your customer is a basic principle of my business. I only want to do business that I understand, I want to do business with partners whose business I understand, and they want to work with partners who are fair.”

Dr Rudolf Putz is the Head of the Trade Facilitation Programme at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). In this interview, he explains what it takes to become a development banker, what a typical career trajectory looks like for trade-focused development professionals, and how the EBRD provides trade finance to companies and areas that cannot be serviced by the private sector. 

Trade Barriers: How connecting lenders and educating trade practitioners can help close the trade finance gap

“Our mantra is ‘trade finance without barriers’ – providing access to information, education and finance, helping to close down the oft-cited $1.5 trillion USD trade finance gap.”

Trade Finance Global is a platform which assists companies to access trade and receivables finance facilities through 270+ banks, funds and alternative finance houses. Also providing educational insights and guides, the organisation aims to help close the oft-cited $1.5 trillion trade finance gap. Mark Abrams, Trade Finance Director, and Deepesh Patel, Partnerships & Marketing Director, spoke to tradeXplain about their work at TFG, the trade finance gap, blockchain, and their predictions for 2020.

Early Careers: Breaking stereotypes and shifting priorities

“I genuinely believe that if you want something you can achieve it – but, you have to put the work in. Success consists of going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm – and if you keep that enthusiasm up, you will succeed!”

Charlotte Prior works as a Trade Finance Analyst at GIB. While she is still at the beginning of her career, she has already broken stereotypes and made her mark on the trade finance industry. In this interview, Charlotte explains how she progressed from Receptionist to Trade Finance Analyst, and why she is pushing for increased focus on sustainability in trade finance.

SME exporters: Approaching international trade in unprecedented times

An experienced entrepreneur, Geoffrey de Mowbray is the CEO of UK-based Dints International, which he founded in 2007, and which provides solutions to supply chain problems for mining and infrastructure companies. He’s also the co-Chairman of the British Exporters Association (BExA), responsible for SME and micro exporters.

In this interview he describes his somewhat unconventional journey to a career in international trade, what young trade and export financiers can do to support the growth of trade and make a positive difference, and how – given the current tough business environment brought on by Covid-19 – his company has had to innovate to keep operating.

ITFA: Nurturing the next generation of trade financiers

Sean Edwards is Head of Legal and Special Adviser to the Trade Finance Department at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe. Since 2015 he has also been the Chairman of the International Trade & Forfaiting Association (ITFA), which represents the interests of banks, financial institutions, insurers and service providers involved in trade risk and asset origination and distribution.

In this interview he talks about ITFA’s evolution and its Emerging Leaders programme, and why he believes that a career in trade finance is a lot more creative than it used to be.

The WTO and Blockchain: Why the world’s premier trade organisation is exploring blockchain technology

Emmanuelle Ganne is Senior Analyst in the Economic Research and Statistics Division of the World Trade Organization (WTO) where she leads the organisation’s work on blockchain. Her recently published book “Can Blockchain Revolutionize International Trade?” argues that blockchain technology has the potential to break the various silos that exist between parties involved in cross-border transactions, but that standardisation and cooperation are necessary to solve challenging technical, interoperability, and legal issues.

In this interview, Emmanuelle explains the role of the WTO, her work on blockchain, and the technology’s potential to transform trade.

The Media: The role of journalists in global trade and trade finance

Shannon Manders is the Editorial Director at Global Trade Review (GTR) and a freelance consultant to several international trade industry organisations. Having covered the trade finance sector for more than a decade, she is a leading voice in the industry.

In her first-ever interview on the other side of the table, Shannon explains the role of the media in the world of trade, export, commodity and supply chain finance.

Credit Insurance: A powerful force during uncertain times

“About 13-14% of cross-border trade is supported by export credit and investment insurance. Last year, that amounted to $2.5 trillion. It is a powerful force.”

As Secretary-General of the Berne Union, Vinco David leads a trade association whose members play a vital role in the global economy. His career spans over 30 years in the credit insurance industry, and he is also a novelist having published three books so far.

In this interview, Vinco explains the role of export credit and investment insurance in international trade, the current trading environment, and how he manages to combine a career in trade with writing novels.

Big Tech: How Google tackles trade

You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone as enthusiastic about trade as Cristhian Rodriguez, Google’s Global Trade Automation Lead and EMEA Head of Trade Compliance.

His role is to ensure that the tech giant’s cutting-edge products are distributed to consumers without any hassles and through the use of optimal procedures and technologies. It’s a task that he carries out with great passion, proving that a job in compliance can, in fact, be anything but boring.

Commodity Trade Finance: Challenging, exciting, and here to stay

“Commodities are at the crossroad between geopolitics, financial markets, demography and economics. Understanding their dynamics provides a very useful key to understand the world we live in and its future.”

Jean-Francois Lambert is a key industry voice in the world of commodities. In this interview he gives a comprehensive introduction to commodity trade finance and explains why he thinks it is a brilliant career choice.

Fintech: The effects of digitisation on trade

Fintech is changing trade finance — finally. We spoke to André Casterman and Christoph Gugelmann about the effects of digitisation, which companies are driving the changes, and how young professionals should position themselves to benefit from new opportunities.

Trade Finance: An overview of the basics

“Trade finance is fun, it’s exciting, and, most importantly, it’s real. That’s the message to anyone who’s thinking about making this their profession.”

With a career in trade finance dating back to the late 1980s, Geoff Wynne, partner at law firm Sullivan in London, seemed a credible source to outline what trade finance is, how it works, and why its wide range of products and processes make it a rewarding and enjoyable industry to work in.