Clause 1 - Definition of “paper trade document”

Electronic Trade Documents Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:30 pm ar 19 Mehefin 2023.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Dame Angela. Clause 1 defines the type of trade documents that may fall within the scope of the Bill. It does so by setting out the criteria that the documents must satisfy. The list of documents included is intentionally broad to ensure that when the trade market uses a document in such a way that possession of it is significant—even if that is a matter of commercial practice, rather than law—it can be confident that it is regarded as being possible to possess it.

Photo of Patrick Grady Patrick Grady Scottish National Party, Glasgow North

I am keen to welcome the provisions giving legal recognition to electronic trade documents. It is clear from all the evidence and research behind the Bill that digitalisation of the documents listed in the clause will help to speed up transactions and lead to significant cost savings and efficiencies. The Government claim that they are ahead of other G7 countries in introducing these changes, but I wonder whether this does not all still smack a bit of yesterday’s technology solving today’s problems tomorrow, rather than tomorrow’s technology solving those problems today. With the rise of artificial intelligence, I wonder how soon some of the processes that we are talking about will be conducted with very little human interaction.

The clause provides the foundation for the rest of the Bill by setting out the definition of “paper trade document” and all that follows from that. The Scottish Government had some concerns about the Bill, but I will come on to those a little later.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 1 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.