Government claims first-ever paperless UK export after law change

Lancashire manufacturing firm completes entirely digital process of sending goods to Singapore after the enforcement of the Electronic Trade Documents Act and a digital trade agreement between the two countries

The government claims that a UK firm has completed the first-ever fully digital export of goods after “world-leading legislation” came into effect last week.

Based in Burnley, valve manufacturer Fort Vale recently sent a shipment to Singapore. Following the passing into law of the Electronic Trade Documents Act (EDTA) – as well as the implementation of a digital trade agreement with Singapore – the shipment was due to arrive yesterday in the city-state, with the entire process being completed without the need for any physical documents.

Government claims that the EDTA makes “the UK the first G7 country to place electronic trade documents on the same legal footing as paper documents”. The law could help boost the national economy by more than £1.1bn over the next decade while reducing processes times by three quarters, the government added.

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Minister for international trade Nigel Huddleston said: “Digitalised trade will make it quicker, cheaper and easier for firms to do business around the world, saving them significant sums of money. In a world where everyone pays for things digitally, it’s high time we tear up the pointless paperwork and get with the 21st century. This is a landmark moment for the future of international trade and I am delighted the UK is leading the way in using technology to make things easier for our companies.”

The Fort Vale digital shipment was completed with support from LogChain – a tech and logistics firm based in Singapore, with offices in the UK.

Minister for tech and the digital economy Paul Scully said: “We have made history today, with the simple act of a valve produced in Burnley arriving in Singapore. Following the commencement of the Electronic Trade Documents Act, we’re showing the world that the UK isn’t merely a participant in the digital economy – we are at its forefront. This transformative step promises a future where international trade is swifter, more affordable, and inclusive for businesses of every size.”

Sam Trendall

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