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 technology that would strengthen trade ties between Singapore and Japan.
This initiative, in collaboration with Singapore’s National Trade Platform (NTP)*1, 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.
In this PoC, MUFG and NTT DATA will utilise an application programming interface (API)*2 to connect a prototype trade system*3 currently developed by NTT DATA with Singapore’s NTP. Not only does this PoC mark the first attempt to integrate digital platforms between the two trading nations, it will see MUFG and NTT DATA collaborating to address and provide digital solutions to technical challenges prevalent in international trade, where differing trade regulations and documentation standards predominate. The initiative will also help lay the foundation for a regional digitalised trade and supply chain platform in Asia.
MUFG, an active member of the NTP working group in Singapore, has found in NTT DATA a like-minded partner that understands the importance of harnessing technology to move trade finance away from its manually-intensive, inefficient and inconsistent practices as well as facilitate greater connectivity across global and regional trade corridors.
The initiative also complements Singapore’s SMART Nation objectives and efforts at developing a regional digital economy. MUFG is a partner of initiatives spearheaded by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), including the linkage of NTP to trade platforms in other countries such as Hong Kong’s, and the MAS-led consortium focused on developing blockchain-based inter-bank payment solutions.
Over the past 40 years, NTT DATA has supported the development of the trade sector in Japan through technological innovation. It is at the forefront of the country’s efforts to utilise blockchain technology to transform trade practices and launched a consortium this year 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
“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 are very excited to partner NTT DATA on this project. With their collective experience and expertise, we are confident that we will be able to contribute meaningfully to the enhancement of regional and global trade.”
Mr Toshi Fujiwara, NTT DATA’s Director and Executive Vice President
“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.”
Mr Ho Chee Pong, Director-General, Singapore Customs
“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.”
Ms Jacqueline Loh, Deputy Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore
“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.”