Asean e-commerce pact paves way for digital economy

A man passes the Asean Summit signage at Suntec Convention Centre in Singapore, November 11, 2018. — Reuters pic
A man passes the Asean Summit signage at Suntec Convention Centre in Singapore, November 11, 2018. — Reuters pic

SINGAPORE, Nov 13 — The Asean agreement on e-commerce paves the way for the digital economy to further flourish in the region, while advancing trade rules and building digital connectivity within it.

The Asean Internet economy is estimated to reach US$200 billion (RM834.6 billion) by 2025.

“Asean member states commit to maintain, or adopt as soon as practicable, laws and regulations governing electronic transactions taking into account applicable international conventions or model laws relating to e-Commerce,” Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a statement.

The agreement signed yesterday was previously endorsed by the Asean Economic Ministers at the 50th Asean Economic Ministers Meeting on Aug 29 this year.

Asean now has 330 million Internet users, the third largest number of such users globally. On average, they spend 3.6 hours on the mobile Internet daily – more than anyone else in the world.

The statement said more than 50 per cent of the Asean population is under 30 years of age and have greater affinity for technology and Internet-based transactions.

Besides the agreement, the 17th Asean Economic Community (AEC) Council Meeting also concluded the Asean Trade in Services Agreement (Atisa).

It will deepen integration of the Asean services markets and introduce commitments related to services trade, thereby, creating a more liberal, stable and predictable environment for service suppliers in the region.

Also finalised, was the Fourth Protocol to Amend the Asean Comprehensive Investment Agreement (Acia) that will introduce stronger commitments prohibiting the imposition of performance requirements on investors, and help the regional grouping remain an attractive and competitive investment destination. — Bernama

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