CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE – Sean Edwards, ITFA Chairman / Head of Legal and Special Adviser to the Global Trade Finance Department at SMBC, Jan 2023

Welcome to the first ITFA newsletter of 2023, a year which I believe will be an eventful one and, if I can be boldly optimistic, far from an unprofitable one. Amongst the most important subjects, reducing the record-high $1.7 trillion trade finance gap we experience in our world today, will be one of the most important points on the trade finance agenda. 

Reforming the rules on electronic trade and trade documentation is a subject that goes straight to my heart and the heart of ITFA as an association that began its long journey in the forfaiting markets of the 1980s and 90s. It should be noted that English common law covers 80% of international trade documentation. I was therefore honoured to have contributed to a session of the select committee on the Electronic Trade documents Bill in the UK House of Lords which was held earlier on this month. The session may be viewed here.

Back to ITFA activity, with a new year comes a new list of ITFA events, and I can proudly say that we already have a good number of events lined up. We have started populating the 2023 Events Calendar, which can be viewed on the ITFA website and is updated on an ongoing basis. Click to find out more information about the various events being organised during the course of the year. 

Following feedback received from members, we will also endeavour to hold more webinars. We value in-person events very highly but recognise the convenience of webinars for our geographically disparate membership which is present in over 40 countries. We invite our members to come forward and suggest topics of interest. Furthermore, the option to co-sponsor a webinar is still available. Please click here for more info

Mentioning events, as from this month we will be introducing the Monthly Events Update, which will take the form of an email publication wherein some of the upcoming events will be featured. Another initiative aimed at reducing email flow, as we are conscious that the increased number of events has increased the volume of electronic mail reaching your inboxes. We hope that this update will keep our audiences well aware of what’s coming up.  Individual event news will still be uploaded on social media, therefore I urge you to keep following us on Linkedin and to take the time to share our posts, so we maximise exposure.

Lastly, but certainly not least, we have opened a webpage for our annual conference As I am sure all of you are aware by now, the 49th ITFA Annual Conference will be held in Abu Dhabi, between 11-13 October, hence I once again urge you to SAVE THE DATE. More details will be shared soon as we aim to officially launch within the next couple of months when you will be able to register.

On the sponsorship front, may I take the opportunity to thank those who have already pledged their support through the various sponsorship packages. Should your institution wish to sponsor this event, we encourage you to reach out to us by sending an email on We aim to make Abu Dhabi even more sustainable than Porto.  

We are also pleased to announce that Veefin Solutions Private Ltd has joined as a new ITFA member.

As always, we look forward to hearing from you with any feedback you may want to share with us by sending an email to myself, any of the Board Members or to our general email,

Kind regards,

Sean Edwards


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