Thailand’s Joint Standing Committee of Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) has revealed the successful completion of a blockchain technology trial with NTT Data for its national trade platform.

JSCCIB joined forces with Japanese systems integration company NTT Data to explore the “feasibility and benefits” of a cross-industry trade platform under Thailand’s National Digital Trade Platform (NDTP) project.

The NDTP project is a private sector initiative led by JSCCIB in Thailand to build a digital business-to-business (B2B) trade platform. The Thai government has called on all sectors to help develop the digital platform as part of the national agenda, aiming to link it with other Asean countries’ trade platforms such as Singapore’s Networked Trade Platform (NTP) to boost intra-regional trade flows.

NTT Data says that the benefits of using electronic trade documents were examined by 47 trial participants from 24 companies across various industries. Banks, freight forwarders, exporters and insurers from Thailand, and a Japanese importer took part in the trial. Trade documents such as purchase orders, invoices, shipping instructions, sea waybills, certificates of origin, export permits and insurance policies were exchanged using blockchain technology and artificial intelligence.

The test achieved an up to 60% faster processing time of documents. The trial also proved that sharing information via the trade platform using blockchain technology can prevent double financing and fraudulent documents through enhanced verification. After a string of high-profile fraud cases, from the Access World nickel fraud to the Qingdao metals fraud scandal, it has become more important than ever for Asia to crack down on illegal trade activity.

Nattapon Dejvitak, head of business requirements working group at JSCCIB says: “We found it is a single integrated digital platform that connects all parties and enables the exchange of trade-related data and document digitally. The time and cost of export and import will be reduced dramatically, the risk of financial fraud will be mitigated, and the process of logistic and insurance arrangement will be streamlined through the platform.”

NTT Data says it has already been developing a digital trade platform in Japan through a cross-industry consortium established in 2017. The consortium includes banks, insurance companies, cargo owners and logistics companies.


Singapore’s national platform sets standard

The NTP is a digital national trade information management system backed by the Singaporean government, which aims to make trade flowing through Singapore more efficient. Revealed in September last year, the NTP brings the entire trade ecosystem to a single online location, digitising the trade process. It replaces two existing trade facilitation platforms in Singapore, TradeXchange and TradeNet.

Recently, the NTP launched Tradeteq’s AI-based credit scoring system on the platform to enable its users to better assess counterparty risk in trade deals. The system is being used to leverage various data sources to provide thorough credit reports for users of the platform. To boost trade security, NTP also rolled out Trade Finance Compliance (TFC), a new e-service that comes as a result of a joint government-industry partnership between Singapore Customs, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and financial institutions. Now live on the NTP, the TFC service will help tackle trade finance compliance challenges by addressing obstacles faced by financial institutions when financing trade in Asia, such as trade fraud risks and the lack of reliable data to conduct price checks for non-commodity goods.