ASEAN Members Committed to Synchronize Rules on E-Commerce

Indonesia, Philippines Agrees to Set of SSG's Instant Coffee Products
Indonesia’s Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita presented the Indonesia’s standing position on the current crucial issues such as the completion of e-commerce agreement. (Credit to Ministry of Trade).

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories)The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members expressed commitment to synchronize regulations on e-commerce on each jurisdictions as part of an effort to strengthen the digital economy development in the bloc that is home to 600 million population.

Indonesia’s trade minister Enggartiasto Lukita said last week, in a press release, that this commitment is one of the main agenda in the ASEAN Economic Community Council (AECC) meeting that was part of the 32nd ASEAN Summit in Singapore.

He said the digital economy and e-commerce industry are important for the future of ASEAN. Therefore, the ASEAN countries agreed to set up regulation on the e-commerce.

The regulations from each jurisdictions should maintain an equal competitiveness between e-commerce and conventional trade. That includes the fair treatment of import duties between e-commerce and conventional trade.

Google and Temasek Holding research showed that e-commerce markets in ASEAN have the potentials to grow to US$88 billion by 2025 from US$10 billion in 2017. Indonesia can earn up to US$150 billion in annual economic impact by 2025, according to the McKinsey, by speeding up the digital economy.

Currently, the five ASEAN countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, have linked to the ASEAN Single Window. ASEAN Single Window’s objective is to expedite cargo clearance and promote ASEAN economic integration by enabling the electronic exchange of border documents among the ASEAN Member States.

MPAC Progress

Furthermore, the AECC’s ministers also discussed the completion of service negotiations and the implementation of the ASEAN Connectivity Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC). This completion is important as the connectivity and digital literacy still be the main problem in ASEAN.

Indonesia’s Government sets up several economy packages and build infrastructure to strengthen its domestic economy. In addition, the government launched “Making Indonesia 4.0” as a baseline the country’s economic development during 2019 to 2030.

As a first step in running making Indonesia 4.0, Indonesia’s Government will focus on five areas namely food and beverages, textiles, automotive, electronics, and chemicals. This five sectors, He added, is expected to bring substantial leverage effect in terms of contribution to the competitiveness of Indonesia towards the top 10 of the world economy in 2030. To achieve the goal, the government committed to set the attractive incentives to attract the investors.

RCEP Progress

During the 32nd ASEAN Summit, 10 ASEAN’s economy ministers held a meeting to discuss the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiation with the completion target by the end of 2018. This meeting aimed to give guidelines for the next meeting of RCEP trade negotiation committee in 28 April-8 May 2018 in Singapore.

Lukita who serves as Indonesia’s negotiation coordinator suggested the ASEAN country members to submit the offer in goods and service trade, and submit the reservation investment lists.

RCEP negotiation is important since the countries consolidated 31.60 per cent of world’s GDP and 28.5 per cent share in global trade. RCEP expected to give employment opportunity for the young people, boost the inclusive economic growth, and promote innovation to improve people’s welfare.

If the RCEP can be signed this year, it will show a good signal of the ASEAN commitment on the multilateral trade under the fears of US-China trade war. In addition to trade wars, the ASEAN Summit focuses on the crisis in Myanmar and security tension in the South China Sea, according to Reuters.