INFORMATION flows have also become the currency of the digital world, and digital connectivity is itself becoming the business, with the demand for data analysis and cybersecurity fast growing.
Supporting innovation and e-commerce will aid companies to harness their roles as business enablers and improve their ability to spawn new growth sectors. The pay-offs for ASEAN are expected to be significant if the economies are able to not only keep pace with digitalisation, but harness its potential well. ASEAN needs to address the issues that materially impact the region's capability to participate in the digital economy.
Singapore thus intends to work closely with other ASEAN Member States to promote innovation, build up digital connectivity and facilitate e-commerce flows to benefit businesses, especially micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
This includes streamlining regional trade rules governing e-commerce to promote greater digital connectivity, as well as lowering barriers to entry to allow seamless movement of e-commerce goods.
Here are some of the key initiatives which will position ASEAN for opportunities in the digital economy and reinforce its value proposition to global partners.
ASEAN Agreement on e-Commerce
The ASEAN Member States are in negotiations to finalise an ASEAN Agreement on e-Commerce by the end of 2018.
The agreement is expected to streamline regional trade rules governing e-commerce, to promote greater digital connectivity and lower operating barriers to entry for businesses.
This is expected to facilitate freer movement of e-commerce goods across the region and help companies take advantage of the digital economy. The aim is to allow companies to market their products and services regionally, while making it easier for them to send and receive electronic payments.
Consumers will also be able to enjoy more choices at cheaper prices.
The objectives of the agreement are:
- Facilitate cross-border e-commerce transactions;
- Create an environment of trust and confidence in the use of e-commerce;
- Deepen cooperation among ASEAN Member States to further develop and intensify the use of e-commerce to drive economic growth and social development in the region.
ASEAN Digital Integration Framework
Singapore is working with its ASEAN neighbours to develop a framework to monitor the progress of digital integration in the grouping.
This framework will allow for more effective evaluation of the region's digital ecosystem and help identify areas for improvement - for instance, facilitating free and secure cross-border flows of data.
It will also help member states develop regional e-payment networks with the required level of penetration and flexibility to support a diverse range of companies as they grow and digitalise.
- A study by Temasek and Google estimates that the ASEAN digital economy has the potential to grow to US$200 billion by 2025, with e-commerce accounting for US$88 billion.
- A McKinsey Global Institute report estimates that the impact of cross-border data flows on world GDP has surpassed that of global goods trade.
- The ASEAN Agreement on e-Commerce will bolster cross-border e-commerce transactions, facilitate companies in the marketing of their products and services regionally and the sending and receipt of electronic payments.
- The ASEAN Digital Integration Framework will enable ASEAN to monitor its progress in improving the regional digital ecosystem.