The Australian Border Force (ABF), the country’s customs and border protection agency, plans to simplify cross-border trade with Singapore through blockchain. Both countries will carry out a blockchain trial under the Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (DEA).
The DEA was signed in August rolling out a framework for reducing barriers to digital trade. The framework also seeks to foster an environment where businesses and consumers can participate in both economies’ digitization.
In collaboration with Singapore Customs and the Singapore Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), the blockchain trial aims to reduce administration costs and increase trade efficiency.
The trial will focus on testing digital verification platforms across both the ABF’s intergovernmental ledger and IMDA’s TradeTrust platform for sharing electronic documents, like certificates of origin.
ABF Commissioner Michael Outram expressed his aspiration for border modernization programs. According to Outram:
“The ABF welcomes the opportunity to collaborate further with Singapore to improve cross-border trade between our countries. This initiative will incorporate paperless trading and secure digital exchange of trade information as part of the future architecture and design of an Australian Trade Single Window.”
Feedback from businesses and regulators
Businesses and regulators will offer feedback on the process with participation from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Australian Industry Group and Singapore’s financial institutions like the ANZ bank will also offer feedback.
According to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources’ National Blockchain Roadmap, with the current international trade, importing regulators have no direct relationship with exporters. Therefore, there is a need to have a digital mechanism to verify the documents provided.