Also in this issue we include a special section on the Bank Payment Obligation (BPO), the joint SWIFT/ICC product that, in the words of André Casterman, looks set "to revolutionize trade finance". Taking account of the rise of electronic banking and the increasing move to open account, the two organizations are developing rules that place a legal obligation on the issuing bank to pay the recipient bank subject to the successful electronic matching of compliant data. It's no exaggeration to say that when the BPO rules are operational, they could constitute the most significant development in trade finance since the UCP first came into effect in 1933.

Ron Katz