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Australian Border Force and Singapore authorities complete Blockchain-based trial

The Australian Border Force (ABF), Singapore Customs, the Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA), and industry participants have completed a blockchain trial to demonstrate that trade records can be provided and authenticated digitally across two autonomous devices, lowering cross-border transaction fees.

The trial was launched in conjunction with the Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Accord, which aims to enable cross-border trading between both nations smoother. The compatibility of two digital validation systems – the ABF's Intergovernmental Ledger (IGL) and the IMDA's TradeTrust reference implementation was successfully evaluated during the trial.

The study proved Australia's capacity to issue high-quality digital trade papers, which can be quickly validated, origin-tracked, and executed digitally. When scanned or machine-read, QR codes encoded with distinctive evidence are placed into digital COOs (Certificates of Origin), allowing for rapid authentication of the document's validity and reliability.

The adoption of verified COOs by a regulating entity, Singapore Customs, was a significant accomplishment of the experiment. Industry players in the trial reported that employing verified COOs increased productivity by saving time and money.

According to ABF Commissioner Michael Outram, “ABF is pleased to be at the forefront of Australia's cutting-edge digital validation programs. This partnership is one of the first to bring together several governmental entities from two nations to accomplish cross-border documentation compatibility. Digital validation and traceable papers show potential as a ‘circuit-breaker' to undermine institutions' reliance on continuous paper-based proof.”

The venture's fundamental objective, as per the officials, is to progressively substitute paperwork in cross-border commerce operations. Researching blockchain technology, which has grown in popularity in trade operations over the years, will aid in the restoration of confidence.

The committee effectively evaluated the compatibility of two digital validation platforms, the ABF's Intergovernmental Ledger (IGL) and the IMDA's TradeTrust benchmark implementations, as per the ABF.

The IGL is a digitized validation initiative formed by the ABF to simplify cross-border commerce and enhance digital trade, with certificates of origin (COO) as the first testing phase. It is presently in the proof-of-concept phase. When scanned or machine-read, QR codes encoded with distinctive proofs are placed into digital COOs, according to the ABF, allowing for instant confirmation of the document's validity and authenticity.

COOs are often granted on paper, according to the ABF, and firms must wait for several days for the hard-copy documentation to arrive by courier before sending it to numerous entities, like customs authorities, dealers, and banks. Authorities typically demand paper trade documentation to verify legitimacy and integrity, according to the report.

According to the ABF, the IGL platform's objective is to gradually eliminate the need for paper papers while lowering cross-border transaction costs for Australian firms. The TradeTrust framework is used as the primary underlying technology in both the TradeTrust reference implementation and the IGL to facilitate interoperability.

The findings, according to ABF Commissioner Michael Outram, will help improve cross-border processes for Australian commerce.

“ABF is pleased to be the first in Australia to implement cutting-edge digital verification initiatives. We believe that this is one of the first cross-border documentation compatibility collaborations involving various government organizations from two nations", he stated, "Digital validation and verifiable papers show potential as a 'circuit-breaker' to disrupt authorities' reliance on persistent paper-based evidence”.


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