SINGAPORE – 23 OCT 2023
The Office of the Leading Group for the Work of the China (Beijing) Pilot Free Trade Zone and the Integrated National Demonstration Zone for Opening up the Services Sector (referred to as the "Beijing Two-Zone Office") and Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) have completed the first live digital trade between China and Singapore on the 19th of October 2023.
This trade was facilitated in partnership between the Beijing Two-Zone Office, through "International Information Industry and Digital Trade Harbor" initiative under the guidance of relevant Chinese ministries such as the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the IMDA. This marks a significant step forward for China in aligning with international high-level economic and trade agreements, such as the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA), and actively exploring practical cooperation with Singapore in driving trade digitization.
The shipment from Xiamen to Singapore, involved a China-based food exporter, COFCO Industrial Food shipping a container of canned food to a Singapore-based food distributor Yit Hong. The pilot involved the use of an electronic Bill of Lading (eBL) enabled by IMDA’s blockchain-based TradeTrust which is designed to address the challenges of paper-based cross-border trade and leverages on international standards and frameworks to connect governments and businesses. TradeTrust allows for the digital trade documents to be authenticated, provenance traced and digitally processed to mitigate fraud risks. Using AEOTradeChain (a trusted trade cooperation network launched by the Beijing TradeTech Alliance, with ChainMaker as the underlying blockchain technology) connected with different business systems enabled by the TradeTrust framework, all participating companies in China and Singapore successfully executed the paperless trade transaction across the border.
The pilot achieved two firsts for trades between Singapore and China: This is the first end-to-end digitally processed maritime shipment involving the use of an eBL that was enabled through the TradeTrust framework. This is also the first eBL that was transacted across different systems in a decentralized manner. It is estimated that by promoting digital transformation of their shipping and 2 export processes, the document-processing efficiency of COFCO Industrial Food can be improved by over 80%, and the business operation cost can be reduced by over 30%.
Moving forward, the Beijing Two-Zone Office and the Singapore’s IMDA will promote more tradedigitization pilots involving a wider range of industry participants and more complex use cases like trade financing. These pilots will focus on promoting the decentralized digitization of transferable documents such as eBLs and cultivating the use of an open, neutral and trusted framework to transform cross-border trade and trade financing processes to benefit businesses from both countries.