Taiwan Customs Launches World's First Blockchain-Enabled Cross Border Digital Trade Platform

October 21st 2020

Taiwan Customs Administration, Ministry of Finance announced the world’s first achievement in establishing a blockchain-enabled platform for cross border digital trade with daily live transactions. This innovative pilot project was initiated earlier this year, in particularly for the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) transactions between Singapore and Taiwan as well as between New Zealand and Taiwan.

The cross border blockchain platform facilitates secure and seamless paperless transactions, allowing exporters and importers to exchange their international trading documents online, such as declaration of origin, commercial invoice, and packing list.

Through collaborations with Singapore and New Zealand, traders, logistic firms, and government agencies are allowed to transmit and verify trading documents via the cross border blockchain platform, which will not only reduce trade-related costs but also enhance trade efficiency. This innovative scheme will prove to be another endeavor of Taiwan Customs to build a friendly customs clearance environment for the entire trade community.

Hsieh, Ling-Yuan, Director General of Taiwan Customs Administration, indicates that the cross border blockchain platform for digital trade is a continuous effort of Taiwan Customs to enhance our international trading competitive edge, “Our collaborations with Singapore and New Zealand on cross border blockchain are aimed to improve the efficiency of FTA cargoes, while deepening the relationship with our FTA partners. We would like to express our gratitude to Trade-Van Information Services Co. and their partners of Pan-Asian E-Commerce Alliance (PAA), namely CrimsonLogic and TradeWindow, for providing the blockchain technology and their efforts in cross-chain interoperability.”

With some regional supply chains disrupted by Covid-19, international traders are looking for ways to remove bottlenecks and speed up trade while maintaining or enhancing safety and security. The pilot user 3M Taiwan Ltd. expressed that the cross border blockchain solution not only helps to reduce time for preparing and transmitting customs clearance document from half day to 5 minutes, but also solves the inconveniences of the Singapore exporters in documentation preparation during the work-from-home period. The other pilot user Zespri also expressed that the cross border blockchain solution helps to shorten the international trade operation time and increase the trust and security in document transmission.

The distributed ledger technology and security mechanism of blockchain can be widely applied to international trade. Due to the source traceability feature of the data on blockchain, the falsification of trade documents can be significantly reduced while the document review process of Customs can be dramatically expedited, which will contribute greatly to customs clearance operation. Customs Administration further indicates that the pilot scheme of the blockchain-enabled cross border trade platform will be continuously expanded to incorporate more countries and firms.