TOKYO, Dec 24, 2020 – (JCN Newswire) – Five Japanese companies are pleased to announce that they will be collaborating on a digitalization pilot project for Vietnam-bound trade. Slated to begin in March 2021 with operations conducted by Mitsubishi Corporation Plastics Ltd. (MCP) and Mitsubishi Corporation (MC), the project will revolve around the TradeWaltz information-sharing platform, which is managed by its namesake company TradeWaltz, Inc. (TradeWaltz). Participating in the project alongside TradeWaltz will be the platform’s four initial users1, namely MCP, MC, MUFG Bank, Ltd. (MUFG), and Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd. (Tokio Marine Nichido).
This project has also been adopted as part of a larger scheme to help diversify overseas supply chains that was introduced in the fiscal year 2021 supplementary budget of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is serving as secretariat for the diversification scheme.
Trading operations still require physical documents to be processed at both corporate and government offices, and even during the pandemic, some employees have had to report to their offices once or twice a week to do the work. If the pandemic were to worsen or some other crisis occur that prevented employees from doing this, it could slow trade and adversely impact supply chains. Recognizing that factors inhibiting fully-remote work have been on the rise during the pandemic, the Japanese government is taking urgent measures to address them. Its aim is to facilitate efforts to meet the growing need for digital documents and otherwise strengthen supply chains through diversification and digitalization.
TradeWaltz’s platform is designed to centrally manage digital, trade-related data, and with the company having recently digitized all documents pertaining to export standards, it is now set to commence the pilot project. Beginning in March, its systems will be connected to its four initial users, with the first set of trial operations focusing on their receipt of letters of credit, which comprise just some of the documents mentioned. Under current trade practices, one of the conditions for obtaining letters of credit from banks is that the information documented on them matches that on the relevant shipping documents. Cross checking those documents is just one of the complex, paper-based procedures that must be performed when goods are being traded. The pilot project aims to integrate within a single system all of those procedures, including the cross checks, and because it conforms to the government’s objective to bolster supply chains, it has been adopted as part of the aforementioned diversification scheme.
At present, the TradeWaltz platform can accommodate letters of credit from all countries, but the pilot project will focus on transactions with companies in Vietnam due to that country’s status as 2020 ASEAN chair and the fact that it is one of Japan’s biggest trade partners in the region (Vietnam’s annual trade with Japan amounts to approximately 40 billion USD). The pilot project is being undertaken in accordance with the joint ministerial statement3 that was issued in August 2020 by Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Mr. Hiroshi Kajiyama, and Vietnam’s Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr. Tran Tuan Anh, during the fourth meeting of the Japan-Vietnam Joint Committee on Cooperation in Industry, Trade and Energy
(1) SaaS stands for Software as a Service. It is a model that makes software available for use over the Internet.
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