Joint Press Release by Ministry of Communications and Information and Infocomm Media Development Authority

Three Successful Digital Cross-Border Trade Trials Completed: Businesses Will Be Able To Benefit from Faster and More Secured Transactions

1. The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced four new MOUs and early achievements of Phase 1 Projects from the Singapore-China (Shenzhen) Smart City Initiative (SCI) at the 2nd Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) meeting. Helmed by MCI Permanent Secretary, Ms Yong Ying-I, and Shenzhen Mayor, Mr Qin Weizhong, the meeting reaffirms Singapore and Shenzhen’s commitment to develop digital connectivity and test policy innovations to promote the digital economy and create opportunities for businesses in Singapore and Shenzhen.  
 
2. Forging ahead with more digital economy collaborations, Singapore and Shenzhen signed four new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the 2nd SCI JIC meeting, to help businesses in Singapore and Shenzhen ride on conducive business and regulatory environments to increase collaborations for digital trade and to enable digital transformations. These collaborations in areas like e-invoicing, IoT and blockchain will promote more efficient and trusted cross-border digital connectivity, which will strengthen business linkages between the people and businesses of Singapore and Shenzhen. 
 
Expanding Collaboration in Areas of Electronic Invoicing as well as Innovation And Entrepreneurship: Four MOUs signed at the 2nd SCI JIC 
 
3. Ms Yong said, “The Singapore-China (Shenzhen) Smart City Initiative (SCI) established in 2019 is growing from strength to strength. Both cities will work closely together on new digital cooperation projects and policy sandboxes to create new economic opportunities for our people and businesses. Today, the signing of four more MOUs reaffirms our commitment to continue building a bridge of digital connectivity between Singapore and Shenzhen. The SCI serves as a reference for wider digital and smart city cooperation in the Greater Bay Area and Southeast Asia.” 
 
4. In the next phase of SCI, businesses are harnessing the value of digital technologies to bring about greater benefits to the economy. The NCS NEXT Shenzhen Innovation Centre project sees the creation of three new business partnerships with technology companies in China, inking three MOUs in areas of: 
IoT and Blockchain Solutions Platform; 
Robotics Development; and  
Digital Twin-enabled Solutions. 
 
These MOUs will facilitate collaboration that will develop new products and solutions that will support the digitalisation of businesses and industries in both cities, including the building of a trusted platform to develop use-cases in manufacturing, trade financing and smart agriculture solutions and products. NCS Group and its Chinese partners will also be building a joint lab to design smart agriculture robots and products, and to develop go-to market solutions.  
 
5. Additionally, DataPost (a member of the ADERA Global Group of companies) and Kingdee E-Invoice Solution Technology (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd have also signed a pilot B2B MOU to process electronic invoices for international trade through the Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line (Peppol) Electronic Invoicing Framework. Adopting a common framework will allow businesses in both cities to transact seamlessly, enhancing overall efficiency, and facilitating faster processing times and payments to bring about cost savings. Peppol, an international and standards-based open framework for e-invoicing, will lay a strong foundation for interoperability between businesses in Shenzhen and Singapore as more businesses come onboard and cross-border transactions increase. Please refer to Annex A for the list of MOUs signed at the 2nd SCI JIC Meeting.  
 
Progress of Phase 1 Projects: Upcoming Trials on Digital Trade To Promote Business Productivity
 
6. Businesses between Singapore and Shenzhen can also soon enjoy expeditious cross-border trade financing transactions as the SCI continues to deepen technological cooperation and test policy innovations between both cities.  
 
7. Enabled by IMDA’s TradeTrust digital utility, banks, shipping lines, buyers, sellers, platform service providers and fintech companies have collaborated on successful technical trials on trade financing using simulated electronic Bills of Lading1 (eBLs). UOB, together with its Shenzhen Branch in China, and their clients have successfully concluded two digital trade financing technical trials. DBS Singapore, DBS China and their client have also conducted a third successful technical trial. Other banks including Bank of China Singapore Branch and Shenzhen Branch, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Shenzhen Branch and Singapore Branch, and MUFG Bank will also be launching trade financing pilots in the coming months. After the successful technical trials, the banks intend for commercial transactions to follow.
 
8. The three successful trials demonstrated how key maritime trade documents like the eBL could be used across different trade financing platforms and jurisdictions. With the digitalisation of the paper-based Bill of Lading, shipping and finance industries along with businesses in Shenzhen and Singapore will enjoy faster transactions (e.g. there would no longer be a need to physically transport or manage hardcopy trade documents, cost and time savings and lowered fraud risks through the use of digital verification systems). Please see Annex B for more information on the successful trade financing trials between Singapore and Shenzhen.
 
Progress Made by Other Phase 1 Projects: More Opportunities in Digital Economy for Enterprises 
 
9. Businesses in Singapore and China may seize new opportunities in the digital economy. As at 30 June 2021, the OneSME platform has onboarded 13 partners, 118 Singapore SME suppliers and 163 Chinese enterprise buyers, including Shenzhen SMEs. The OneSME Hub was launched in September 2020 to facilitate access to a large ecosystem of buyers, sellers, logistics service providers, and financing and digital solution providers. This will help businesses scale up and expand into new markets, as the platform connects B2B platforms in the two countries. 
 
10. As part of innovation and entrepreneurship promotion, the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) node in Shenzhen was launched in partnership with Chinese accelerator XNode in 
December 2020. The inaugural batch of 10 companies embarked on the virtual GIA Shenzhen Acceleration Programme, participating in workshops, and engaging in business matching activities. The second batch of the programme has also started on a rolling basis, with eight companies currently participating in the Acceleration Programme activities, building up an ecosystem of technology start-ups and SMEs across both cities.   

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1 Bills of Lading are documents which acknowledge receipt of cargo for shipment and also prove ownership of the cargo. An importer will incur additional storage and handling costs if a paper BL arrives at the destination port later than the cargo or suffer losses if the BL has been tampered with. 


Resources 
Annex A: SCI Media Factsheet, MOUs for 2nd SCI JIC Meeting with Partners’ Quotes 
Annex B: Successful Trade Financing Trials, About TradeTrust & Quotes from Participating Banks  

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