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China launches cross-border trade blockchain for multimodal transport

trade supply chain

Last week, the Qingbaijiang District local government in Chengdu announced the launch of a blockchain platform for cross-border trade. It is aimed at the multimodal transport system commonly used for goods moved between China and Europe. One of the nation’s largest international banks, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), was involved in the platform’s development.

The ‘China-Europe e-Single’ platform was officially launched on October 23rd, and hopes to condense multiple government trade services to a single portal. It claims to be China’s first to focus on multimodal transport, where blockchain can more effectively connect carriers and trace goods. The report added that it could help supply chain SME financing and provide accurate logistics data.

A ‘single-window system’, the platform enables traders to submit regulatory documents in one place. They are then sent to government entities such as customs, border control, trade boards, chambers of commerce, and foreign exchange. This is a far more efficient way of facilitating trade than having to visit each agency individually.

“The use of digitalization to drive free trade innovation, through the blessing of blockchain technology, will accelerate the interconnection of inclusive finance and cross-border trade along the Central and Western Europe,” stated a representative of the ICBC, which was an early participant of the China Banking Association trade finance blockchain.

The platform was piloted on the 20th with the Chengdu International Land Port Operation Co., a domestic branch of the ICBC in Sichaun, and overseas Warsaw and Moscow branches. Imports of wood from Russia and textiles from Poland were transported into the Sichaun area, with the digital platform managing trade documents.

According to China Wuliu, the e-Single system was also piloted with an ICBC branch in Abu Dhabi. This instance saw the digitization of documents such as bills of lading, allowing consistent data storage of imports in one place. With blockchain, the records are immutable and trusted.

Taking place in the Qingbaijiang District of the Sichuan Pilot Free Trade Zone, the local authorities hope that this successful initiative will boost the area’s influence and trade. While the ICBC is one of the top four Chinese banks, it contends with the likes of China Construction Bank, CITIC, and even the PBOC in blockchain trade finance.