China’s Ministry of Commerce, along with 23 other central departments, on Tuesday jointly issued “The 14th Five-Year Plan for Service & Trade Industries.” It outlines how China will integrate blockchain into the process of global trading, including applying blockchain on bills of lading, building a blockchain-based global shipping information network, and using blockchain to record and transfer container import information at the port.

Fast facts

  • The ministry also proposes to actively participate in setting international blockchain standards and rules in the fields of finance and global trade.
  • This is the first time that the Ministry of Commerce has brought up blockchain in a five-year plan.
  • The document is a more specific plan for commercial trade and service industries following the “14th Five-Year Plan and Outline of 2035 Vision Goals” issued by the State Council in March this year, which wrote blockchain and digital currency into the nation’s future. 
  • China has released phased plans for economic and social development every five years since 1953. Each plan begins with the state council outline, followed by more details on execution from other central government departments and local governments.
  • In September, Hong Kong-based Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) launched a blockchain platform for global trade in cooperation with Oracle, Microsoft, AntChain and Alibaba Cloud (the latter two are subsidiaries of China’s tech giant Alibaba). GSBN members own one-third of the world’s containers and have declared their intention to accelerate digital transformation in the global shipping and trade sector.