Thailand’s national digital trade platform to launch next month
Thailand's National Digital Trade Platform (NDTP) will launch next month, its private sector backers announced on Tuesday.
The NDTP will serve as Thailand's national single platform for import and export procedures, integrating with counterparts in other countries, said Kobsak Duangdee, secretary-general of the Thai Bankers' Association.
The platform will offer Thai businesses the flexibility required to compete in the digital era of international business, he added.
Rather than submitting the same document to several different government departments and organisations, businesses can make a single submission to the NDTP – which is already connected to the relevant parties.
This would save time and money for businesses and government while also improving ease of doing business in Thailand, which is a key factor in attracting foreign trade and investors, Kobsak said on Tuesday.
Jumrud Sawangsamud, director-general of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said the NDTP platform would be up and running in September and linked with counterparts in Singapore (NTP) and Japan (TradeWaltz).
Results from the NDTP’s soft launch would be presented at November’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bangkok so that APEC leaders understand the need for this type of platform, he added.
Jumrud said that as well as simplifying document processes for businesses, NDTP also serves as a data centre that can be used to explore future trade opportunities.
Current Phase 1 testing of the platform by several Thai companies covers three areas. These are commercial documents such as e-purchase orders, e-invoices, and e-packing List; transport documents; and other government and insurance certificates.
The NDTP’s e-documents will be developed according to Trade Facilitation and E-business (UN/CEFACT) standard, said Jumrud.
Kobsak said the platform will go through five stages of development, each providing use-case lessons to improve features and functionality. The completed version will include all parties, including small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).
But he cautioned that government support was needed to upgrade the Thai business environment.
"Before connecting with foreign trade partners, Thailand must first strengthen itself. To make the platform a reality, we need the government's support,” Kobsak said.
The NDTP platform would improve business accountability and transparency by converting paper documents to electronic files that can be verified and traced back, he added. Hence, Thai companies would serve as a model for other countries seeking to establish a unified platform and participate in the global era of digital trade.