New trade platform to ease digital transfer of trade documents

A file picture of Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Dr Koh Poh Koon. ST PHOTO
A file picture of Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Dr Koh Poh Koon. ST PHOTO

SINGAPORE - A new trade services platform has been launched to facilitate the electronic exchange of trade documents across borders.

Global e-Trade Services, or GeTS, is centred on a single electronic window that connects to various foreign businesses and government agencies, allowing companies to clear the customs more quickly and efficiently.

This will translate into time and cost savings for companies, noted Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, at the launch on Tuesday (May 9).

Dr Koh noted that global trade has more than doubled from US$6.5 trillion (S$9.2 trillion) in 2000 to US$16.6 trillion in 2015.

"Despite recent uncertainties arising from protectionist sentiments and economic headwinds, global trade is not expected to dampen significantly," he said.

"Driven by an overall improvement in economic outlook, coupled with strong fundamentals in Asia, global trade growth is expected to pick up in the years ahead."

The growth of e-commerce trade is also expected to underpin the continued rise in global trade, he added.

"In the years to come, e-commerce trade is expected to post strong growth, with South-east Asia poised to be one of the world's fastest-growing regions for e-commerce trade," he said.

"Industry experts have estimated that South-east Asia's e-commerce market will surpass US$25 billion in revenue by 2020, more than double the total revenue in 2015."

Dr Koh also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between GeTS and the Singapore Logistics Association to develop a pan-regional business-to-business platform that facilitates collaboration between members of Asean logistics associations.

With linkages to 500 freight forwarders and 1,300 counterparties in various Asean countries, companies can reduce inefficiencies from manual correspondences, and transmit their trade documents through a single digital platform that would help to facilitate customs clearance.

This will allow companies within the region to move their goods across regional borders in a more efficient and cost-effective manner, he said.