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World’s First Digital Trade Financing Pilot in Singapore

Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), in collaboration with commercial partners have successfully concluded the world’s first cross-border digital trade financing pilot of its kind.

The pilot used IMDA’s TradeTrust framework to facilitate the transfer of electronic records between jurisdictions that have adopted the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR). This harmonises the legal recognition of digital documents such as electronic bills of lading (eBLs) across both jurisdictions and complements the larger global trade movement by the G7 economies on adopting electronic transferable records in international trade.

Cross-border trade finance is largely paper-based and vulnerable to fraud, due to the complex flow of transactions and the multiple number of parties involved. IMDA developed TradeTrust as an interoperable framework that provides proof of authenticity, origin and ownership of digital documents used in trade finance.

This enables trading counterparties and transacting banks to validate documents digitally and securely even when they are on different trade finance platforms, and allows such documents to be exchanged with another party in real-time. This helps mitigate the risk of fraud, reduce costs, and improve trust and efficiency.

The adoption of MLETR into statute law also provides increased legal confidence and commercial predictability to parties in both Singapore and ADGM in the recognition of electronic documents and digitalised transactions. This will pave the way for a more seamless, easier, and faster way to transact digitally.

The commercial partners collaborated closely with IMDA, MAS and FSRA in this pilot, and used IMDA’s TradeTrust to validate, review and transfer ownership of simulated eBLs. In doing so, these partner banks gained insights into potential benefits such as reducing the operational costs of fraud detection and document verification.

The digital economy is the future. Digitalisation and technological disruption, accelerated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, have transformed consumer behaviours and business models considerably and created new opportunities. For example, e-commerce has enabled manufacturers to reach consumers directly.

The rise of platforms and apps with multiple integrated services from transport to finance and telemedicine have changed how services are consumed. Businesses are also increasingly reliant on electronic transactions and digital solutions, from sourcing to invoicing and payments. Secure and seamless cross-border data flows are essential to the growth of the digital economy and to ensure that consumer’s interests are safeguarded.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, Singapore and the United Kingdom (UK) have substantially concluded negotiations on the UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (UKSDEA). The trade deal – Singapore’s third DEA – is intended to boost digital trade and data flows, such as the promotion of interoperable e-payment systems and the prohibition of local data storage requirements. It will also encourage digital economy participation, through channels such as online consumer protection rules, and e-commerce platform access for small businesses.

The agreement includes binding disciplines on cornerstones of the digital economy, such as data, as well as cooperative elements in a wide range of emerging and innovative areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), fintech and regtech, digital identities and legal technology.

Under the UKSDEA, Singapore and the UK are also pursuing cooperative projects that provide a dynamic framework for bilateral cooperation on forward-looking and emerging issues. Singapore and the UK enjoy strong economic ties, with the UK being Singapore’s largest services trading partner in Europe. In 2019, bilateral services trade exceeded S$22 billion, of which around 70% could have been digitally delivered.

The UK is also Singapore’s second-largest European investor and European investment destination, with over S$100 billion worth of UK investment stock in Singapore, and close to S$60 billion worth of Singapore investment stock in the UK.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Renowned for our consulting expertise and delivering expert IT solutions, CTC Global Singapore has become the preferred IT outsourcing partner for businesses across Singapore.

PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.