Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), in collaboration with commercial partners DBS Bank, Emirates NBD and Standard Chartered, have successfully concluded the world’s first cross-border digital trade financing pilot of its kind.

The pilot used IMDA’s TradeTrust framework to facilitate the transfer of electronic records between jurisdictions that have adopted the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR)[1]. This harmonises the legal recognition of digital documents such as electronic bills of lading (eBLs) across both jurisdictions, and complements the larger global trade movement by the G7[2] economies on adopting electronic transferable records in international trade.

Cross-border trade finance is largely paper-based and vulnerable to fraud, due to the complex flow of transactions and the multiple number of parties involved. IMDA developed TradeTrust as an interoperable framework that provides proof of authenticity, origin and ownership of digital documents used in trade finance. This enables trading counterparties and transacting banks to validate documents digitally and securely even when they are on different trade finance platforms, and allows such documents to be exchanged with another party in real-time. This helps mitigate the risk of fraud, reduce costs, and improve trust and efficiency.

The adoption of MLETR into statute law also provides increased legal confidence and commercial predictability to parties in both Singapore and ADGM in the recognition of electronic documents and digitalised transactions. This will pave the way for a more seamless, easier, and faster way to transact digitally. DBS Bank, Emirates NBD and Standard Chartered collaborated closely with IMDA, MAS and FSRA in this pilot, and used IMDA’s TradeTrust to validate, review and transfer ownership of simulated eBLs. These partner banks gained insights into potential benefits such as reducing the operational costs of fraud detection and document verification.

Lew Chuen Hong, Chief Executive, IMDA, said, “The pilot demonstrates how the TradeTrust Digital Utility can facilitate the digitalisation of trade finance processes. We have complemented this by providing legal certainty to electronic transferable records such as eBLs through the MLETR. With TradeTrust, businesses large and small can now authenticate their digital trade documentation and transact seamlessly in the digital economy.”

Leong Sing Chiong, Deputy Managing Director (Markets and Development), MAS, said, “As a key trade hub and international financial centre in Asia, Singapore is keen to accelerate the digitalisation of trade finance to promote greater trust, efficiency and cost savings in the financing of global and regional trade. With this pilot, we hope to see broader adoption of digital trade finance in Singapore and the region.”

Emmanuel Givanakis, CEO of the FSRA, said, “Trade finance is a key enabler for the continuing development and growth of the global economy.  As an international financial centre, ADGM is delighted to work with other MLETR-compliant jurisdictions to provide robust and efficient regulatory and technical infrastructure that helps financial institutions better serve their corporate customers’ needs.  We look forward to the further development and operationalisation of digital trade finance in the ADGM and globally.”

IMDA, MAS and FSRA will continue to collaborate, adopting an iterative approach, with the objective of encouraging our businesses to phase out and switch from paper to digital documents as the mainstream practice to support trade finance. Following the pilot, suitable systems and trade platforms can be used for live shipments of goods between the United Arab Emirates and Singapore. Other commercial entities interested in adopting TradeTrust are invited to reach out to IMDA, MAS, FSRA or any of the partners.




Annex A: Quotes from Industry Participants (91.18KB)

Annex B: About TradeTrust (139.29KB)


About Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) leads Singapore’s digital transformation with infocomm media. To do this, IMDA will develop a dynamic digital economy and a cohesive digital society, driven by an exceptional infocomm media (ICM) ecosystem – by developing talent, strengthening business capabilities, and enhancing Singapore’s ICM infrastructure. IMDA also regulates the telecommunications and media sectors to safeguard consumer interests while fostering a pro-business environment and enhances Singapore’s data protection regime through the Personal Data Protection Commission.

For more news and information, visit or follow IMDA on Facebook IMDAsg and Twitter @IMDAsg.

About the Monetary Authority of Singapore

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is Singapore’s central bank and integrated financial regulator. As a central bank, MAS promotes sustained, non-inflationary economic growth through the conduct of monetary policy and close macroeconomic surveillance and analysis. It manages Singapore’s exchange rate, official foreign reserves, and liquidity in the banking sector. As an integrated financial supervisor, MAS fosters a sound financial services sector through its prudential oversight of all financial institutions in Singapore – banks, insurers, capital market intermediaries, financial advisors and financial market infrastructures. It is also responsible for well-functioning financial markets, sound conduct, and investor education. MAS also works with the financial industry to promote Singapore as a dynamic international financial centre. It facilitates the development of infrastructures, adoption of technology, and upgrading of skills in the financial industry.

About Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), an international financial centre (IFC) located in the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, opened for business on 21 October 2015. Established by a UAE Federal Decree as a broad-based financial centre, ADGM augments Abu Dhabi’s position as a global trade and business hub serving as a strategic link between the growing economies of the Middle East, Africa and South Asia and the rest of the world.

ADGM’s strategy is anchored by Abu Dhabi’s key strengths spanning over private banking, wealth management, asset management, derivatives and commodities trading, financial innovation, sustainability and more. Comprising four independent authorities: the ADGM Authority, ADGM Courts, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority and the Registration Authority, ADGM as an IFC governs the entire 114 hectares (1.14sqkm) of Al Maryah Island which is a designated financial free zone.

It enables registered financial and non-financial institutions, companies and entities to operate, innovate and succeed within an international regulatory framework based on common law. Since its inception, ADGM has been awarded the “Financial Centre of the Year (MENA)” for four consecutive years for its initiatives and contributions to the financial and capital markets industry in the region.*

For more details on ADGM, please visit or follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @adglobalmarket and LinkedIn: @Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)

* Source: The Global Investor Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Awards


For further enquiries, please contact:

Abu Dhabi Global Market

Hajer Al Tenaiji
Senior Manager – Media & Communications
Communications Department
Email: [email protected]

Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore

(Mr) Christopher Koh
Senior Manager, Communications and Marketing, IMDA
Tel: (65) 9144 1995
Email: [email protected]

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