In his opening address at the official launch of Global e-Trade Services (GeTS) on May 9 2017, Minister Koh (above photo) spoke about the improvement in digital connectivity as an important foundation underneath the growth of global cross border trade. With growing internet penetration and proliferation of smart devices, companies are able to access markets and consumers anywhere in the world, at any time. This has spurred the growth of cross-border e-commerce trade, which has become a key engine for trade growth.
The growth in e-commerce trade has been accompanied by an increase in a large number of smaller and lower-valued consignments that require just-in-time delivery. Traditional manual documentation will become increasingly cumbersome and time-consuming for e-commerce traders, and could impede the flow of goods across borders. For regulatory agencies, the increased volume of trade documents for processing will create additional pressure on limited resources.
Therefore, to support the growth of e-commerce trade, it is important to have the right infrastructure that can ensure reliable, efficient and speedy customs clearance, while ensuring compliance with various regulatory requirements. GeTS was officially launched to address these issues and with its comprehensive suite of services, it can help traders meet regulatory and compliance requirements of foreign government agencies.
GeTS acts as a single window that connects to various foreign businesses and government agencies. It can facilitate the electronic exchanges of trade documents with counterparties across borders. This enables companies to clear the customs more quickly and efficiently, which will translate into time and cost savings for companies. Minister Koh explained that GeTS will serve as a natural complement to Singapore’s excellent physical infrastructure and logistics capabilities. The efficiency gains from GeTS will help sustain Singapore’s competitiveness and attractiveness as a global trading and logistics hub.
He also announced the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between GeTS and the Singapore Logistics Association to develop a pan regional Business-to-Business (B2B) platform that facilitates collaboration between members of ASEAN logistics associations. With linkages to 500 freight forwarders and 1,300 counterparties in various ASEAN countries, companies can reduce inefficiencies from manual correspondences, and transmit their trade documents through a single digital platform that would help to facilitate customs clearance. This will allow companies within the region to move their goods across regional borders in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.
Read the full speech by Minister Koh here.