ASEAN countries boost efforts to increase international trade

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Singapore and the Philippines have once again expressed their commitment to cooperation as they look to collaborate in upgrading their payment systems. 

The Bagko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and its Governor, Eli Remolona Jr., recently hosted Singapore Ambassador Constance See Sin Yuan in Manila for a conversation that discussed “the vision of further linking the payment systems of the two countries”, the BSP said.

Both the BSP and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) are co-signers of the FinTech Cooperation Agreement introduced back in November 2021, which builds on the earlier 2017 contract by focusing on interoperable payments facilitation between the Philippines and Singapore. 

The agreement is further inline with the collective plans of the G20 countries to minimise cross-border payments friction in the region, with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) looking to introduce regional payments integration by 2025.

Efforts to achieve this are currently backed by BSP and MAS, as well as the Bank of Indonesia, Bank Negara Malaysia, the Bank of Thailand, and the most recent regional partner – the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV).

All six banks will work towards the common goal of making international payments in the ASEAN region more seamless, easy and affordable, which would in hand also boost business, trade and cooperation on financial inclusion. 

Innovation is already being introduced as part of the process, with MAS launching QR cross-border payment codes in conjunction with Bank Negara Malaysia earlier this year. 

Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Ravi Menon, then commented: “This QR code linkage between Singapore and Malaysia is an important milestone in ASEAN’s journey towards seamless regional payments connectivity.”