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TRADE FINANCE | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Bank of East Asia debuts trade finance services on blockchain-powered platform

It will be available on eTradeConnect.

The Bank of East Asia (BEA) has started offering trade finance services via eTradeConnect, a large-scale multi-bank platform powered by blockchain technology that serves to automate the paper-heavy industry.

Also read: Asia is at the centre of the global trade finance boom

Registered corporate customers can subscribe to the platform through BEA and directly interact with counterparties, conduct trades and make trade financing requests.

Facilitated by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the Hong Kong Trade Finance Platform Company Limited, eTradeConnect standardises and digitises trade documents. Trade finance documents can also be shared amongst participants in real time to make transactions more transparent and reduce risk of fraud and duplicate financing. 

The move is expected to meet around $1.15t in unmet demand for trade finance globally. 

“eTradeConnect service brings Hong Kong’s trade finance services into the digital era. BEA is delighted to have conducted the first eTradeConnect trade finance transaction. We will continue to integrate new technology and innovations into our services so as to further enhance the customer experience,” Adrian Li, executive director & deputy chief executive at BEA sad in a statement.

Other participating banks in the blockchain-powered trade finance platform include HSBC Holdings PLC, Standard Chartered PLC, BOC Hong Kong Holdings Ltd, Hang Seng Bank Ltd, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd and DBS Group Holdings Ltd.

Several Asian countries have rolled out similar technology powered platforms to boost trade activity with India launching a blockchain-powerd trade finance network last May called India Trade Connect with the participation of Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, RBL Bank, South Indian Bank, and Yes Bank. A total of 14 banks from Thailand have also linked up to create the Thailand Blockchain Community Initiative last May to develop a shared trade finance platform

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