French government agency ADETEF has signed a deal to use the Tradeshift electronic payments system, in a bid to aid its government's efforts to support the Pan-European Public Procurement OnLine (PEPPOL) project.

PEPPOL is an initiative to supply e-invoicing and e-procurement services across the European Union. The PEPPOL scheme aims to become a universal standard for European states and seeks to create one shared infrastructure for all e-procurement transactions processed by EU governmental bodies.

ADETEF is the French international assistance agency of the ministries for the economy, budget and sustainable development. It takes up and disseminates best financial and economic policy practices, providing national governments and public authorities with technical expertise from French officials and public sector experts.

The initial ADETEF deployment will enable departments to connect with suppliers on the secure Tradeshift online platform and manage all invoicing electronically.

For suppliers, the system is free to use and provides features that can save them time and money, says Tradeshift.

The first institutions to use Tradeshift as part of the PEPPOL initiative include the Ministry of Finance and the Aube county, with a target of connecting 30,000 suppliers in the first six months. Tradeshift can connect with the current French ministerial system Chorus, which was one reason it was chosen.

"Interoperability is crucial to the success of the PEPPOL initiative," said Mikkel Hippe Brun, chief strategy officer at Tradeshift and a former technical director of the PEPPOL project.

Using Tradeshift, around 6,000 suppliers to the NHS in eastern England are being offered a free electronic invoicing service which promises to speed their payments.