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Hong Kong and Singapore launch joint project on cross-border trade and trade finance platform (with photo)
The following is issued on behalf of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority:

     The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today (November 15) exchanged a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Singapore to jointly develop the Global Trade Connectivity Network (GTCN), a cross-border infrastructure based on distributed ledger technology (DLT), to digitalise trade and trade finance between the two cities and potentially with an aim to expanding the network in the region and globally.

     The GTCN is the first strategic joint innovation project arising from the Co-operation Agreement signed by the two authorities last month (Note). The goal of the project is to build an information highway using DLT between the Hong Kong Trade Finance Platform and the National Trade Platform in Singapore, which will make cross-border trade and financing cheaper, safer, and more efficient.

     A Joint Working Committee comprising the HKMA, the MAS, the Hong Kong Interbank Clearing Limited and the National Trade Platform Programme Office (Singapore) will lead the project at the start. The Joint Working Committee will invite other markets to participate after finalising the governance structure and implementation plan.

     The MoU, signed between heads of the two authorities, was exchanged at the 2017 Singapore FinTech Festival organised by the MAS. As part of a workshop held during the FinTech Festival, the two authorities also commenced a joint discussion with major DLT solution providers to develop business and technical models for the GTCN, which is expected to conclude in Q1 2018. The GTCN is expected to go live by early 2019, to tie in with the targeted go-live dates of the Hong Kong Trade Finance Platform and the Trade Finance Modules on the National Trade Platform in Singapore.
     The Chief Executive of the HKMA, Mr Norman Chan, said, "I am very pleased that the HKMA is joining hand with the MAS to develop a DLT-based interface linking the digital trade finance platforms in the two centres. The GTCN is going to remove the inefficiency and risks of fraud inherent in the existing paper-based system in trade finance. Once implemented, the interface, likely to be the first of this kind in the world, has been designed with an open architecture that would allow Hong Kong's other trading partners to plug into it in future. We feel really excited about this project as it clearly demonstrates the HKMA's commitment to step up cross border collaboration in Fintech to better prepare Hong Kong to enter into the new Smart Banking Era"

     The Managing Director of the MAS, Mr Ravi Menon, said, "Singapore, via the National Trade Platform, is committed to the digitalisation of trade, which will transform the industry by streamlining processes and enhancing risk management. This innovative project with Hong Kong is an excellent showcase of how two leading international financial centres in Asia can drive the transformation of trade and trade finance."

(Note) The HKMA and the MAS signed an agreement to strengthen co-operation on fintech between the two cities and foster fintech development within the region. The Co-operation Agreement was exchanged on October 25, at the Fintech Day organised by the HKMA. Related press release is available on the HKMA website.
Ends/Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:50
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Hong Kong Monetary Authority Executive Director Mr Li Shu-pui  (right) and the Executive Director of Financial Markets Development Department, Monetary Authority of Singapore, Mr Bernard Wee, exchange a Memorandum of Understanding in Singapore today (November 15) to jointly develop the Global Trade Connectivity Network.