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New blockchain based proof-of-concept to link digital trading platforms in Japan and Singapore

In collaboration with Singapore’s National Trade Platform (NTP), Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc.’s (MUFG) banking entity, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. and NTT DATA Corporation (NTT DATA) jointly announced the commencement of a proof-of-concept (PoC) prototype leveraging blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) that aims to strengthen trade ties between Singapore and Japan.

This initiative aims to make cross-border flows more secure, efficient and transparent, with the long-term goal of fostering greater trade and supply chain integration across the region.

This PoC is the first attempt to integrate digital platforms between the two nations, and it seeks to address and provide digital solutions to technical challenges prevalent in international trade, where differing trade regulations and documentation standards predominate.

In this PoC, MUFG and NTT DATA will utilise an application programming interface (API) to connect a prototype trade system currently developed by NTT DATA with Singapore’s NTP. The NTP,developed by Singapore Customs in collaboration with the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) is designed to be a trade and logistics IT ecosystem connecting businesses, community systems and platforms, and government systems. It is a one-stop trade portal for Business-to-Government (B2G) and Business-to-Business (B2B) services and enables the sharing and re-use of digital data on all trade-related transactions between businesses and the Singapore Government. The NTP is developed on an open architecture where third party solution providers or IT developers can leverage the toolkits provided to develop new services and applications based on market needs.

This new initiative is expected to help lay the foundation for a regional digitalised trade and supply chain platform in Asia. Recently, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced a strategic project for the development of a cross-border platform for trade finance using distributed ledger technology. 

MUFG is a partner in several initiatives spearheaded by MAS, including the aforementioned linkage of NTP to trade platforms in Hong Kong and the MAS-led consortium focused on developing blockchain-based inter-bank payment solutions.

The Singapore Government has welcomed the collaboration. Mr. Ho Chee Pong, Director-General, Singapore Customs, said, “The NTP is an open platform and this PoC with NTT DATA is an important building block of our overall strategy to enable the flow of digital trade data with our trade partners globally.”

“MAS welcomes the collaboration between NTT DATA and the NTP as another encouraging step towards digitalising trade and building connectivity in the region. This PoC, together with the GTCN project, demonstrates the growing momentum to digitalise cross-border trade flows and highlights Singapore’s key role as a global hub transforming trade and trade finance,” added Ms. Jacqueline Loh, Deputy Managing Director, MAS.

Over the past 40 years, NTT DATA has supported the development of the trade sector in Japan through technological innovation. Earlier this year, it launched a consortium comprising 13 major companies from sectors such as banking, insurance, integrated logistics and import and export to collaborate in this area. MUFG is one of the companies in this consortium.

Through this PoC collaboration with MUFG, NTT DATA seeks to further contribute to the establishment of more efficient trade procedures and practices by leveraging the collective insights, experiences and capabilities of both companies.

Mr. Motoi Mitsuishi, MUFG’s Group Head for Transaction Banking, said, “This initiative is significant to MUFG on many levels. Not only is it an extension of our strategic objective of investing in digital innovation in support of our corporate clients and facilitating their cross border trade flows in this region, this PoC will go towards creating a global digital ecosystem for trade finance.”

“We greatly appreciate the opportunity to conduct this PoC to connect Singapore’s NTP, introduced by MUFG who is a member of working groups of trade platforms in both countries. It is significantly valuable not only for NTT DATA but also trade-related industries in Japan, to verify technical issues, find their solutions and apply standardisation. Through this PoC, we look forward to contributing to trade facilitation within the ASEAN region and all over the world,” commented Mr Toshi Fujiwara, NTT DATA’s Director and Executive Vice President.

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