OPENING REMARKS BY MR CHAN CHUN SING, MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INDUSTRY, AT THE SIGNING CEREMONY FOR THE ASEAN AGREEMENT ON ELECTRONIC COMMERCE, 12 NOVEMBER 2018, 10:45 – 11:15 AM AT SUNTEC CITY CONVENTION CENTRE
Friends of the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very good morning to all of you,
1. I am pleased to welcome you to the signing ceremony of the ASEAN Agreement on Electronic Commerce or E-Commerce.
ASEAN’s E-Commerce Landscape
2. ASEAN is the world’s fastest growing internet market, with 330 million internet users . By 2025, ASEAN’s internet economy is set to quadruple to US$200 billion from the current US$50 billion in 2017, with e-commerce expected to grow to US$88 billion .
3. Sustained economic growth and a young and digitally-savvy population are major drivers of this growth, bolstered by increased ICT infrastructure investments by both governments and businesses.
4. The region’s e-commerce potential has attracted many foreign entrants, like Amazon and Alibaba to set up in the region. More significantly is the rise of ASEAN-grown unicorns such as Lazada from Singapore and Tokopedia from Indonesia that have a sizeable presence in the regional e-commerce market today.
5. These online marketplaces provide the means for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises or MSMEs to transact online to reach new consumers within and beyond ASEAN.
6. However, e-commerce adoption in ASEAN is still in its infancy compared to China and the US . Non-tariff barriers such as logistics and cross-border digital regulations continue to be challenges for MSMEs looking to capitalise on e-commerce opportunities.
ASEAN Agreement on E-Commerce
7. In recognition of these challenges, I am happy that the ASEAN Member States have concluded the ASEAN Agreement on E-Commerce, ASEAN’s first agreement to facilitate cross-border e-commerce transactions. This is testament to ASEAN’s commitment to create a conducive environment for the growth of e-commerce through advancing trade rules in e-commerce and building up greater digital connectivity within the region. And I was told that we must be one of the first in the world to have this agreement.
8. Discussions on the ASEAN Agreement on E-Commerce commenced in June 2017. The Agreement, finalised after nine rounds of negotiations, has three aims. First, to facilitate cross-border e-commerce transactions. Second, to create an environment of trust and confidence in the use of e-Commerce. Third, to deepen cooperation among ASEAN Member States to further develop and intensify the use of e-commerce to drive regional economic growth.
9. It encourages ASEAN Member States to promote paperless trading between businesses and governments to generate more rapid and efficient transactions in ASEAN.
10. Businesses can access and move data across borders more easily, subject to appropriate security safeguards. ASEAN has also taken active steps to promote better consumer and personal data protection through the use of online dispute resolution mechanisms to facilitate the resolution of e-commerce claims.
11. This Agreement will help bolster the trust and confidence of ASEAN consumers in e-commerce and drive adoption. In doing so, we will enable ASEAN businesses to grow domestically, regionally and globally.
12. Let us proceed with the signing of this milestone agreement, and forge ahead to build an integrated digital economy that benefits everyone in ASEAN.
13. Thank you very much.