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
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
“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.