ASEAN Agreement on Electronic Commerce Enters into Force

The ASEAN Agreement on Electronic Commerce entered into force in early December, establishing common principles and rules to promote the growth of e-commerce in the region and to strengthen capacity to implement them.

The agreement, which was signed in January 2019, officially entered into force on 2 December 2021 after the ASEAN bloc received notification that Indonesia had ratified it.

The agreement aims to facilitate cross-border e-commerce transactions in the ASEAN region, contribute to creating an environment of trust and confidence in the use of e-commerce, and deepen cooperation among ASEAN member states to further develop and intensify the use of e-commerce to drive inclusive growth and narrow development gaps in the region.

Under the agreement, each ASEAN member state will cooperate with others in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure, education and technology competency, online consumer protection, electronic transaction security, electronic payment and settlement, trade facilitation, cybersecurity, and logistics to facilitate e-commerce.

The agreement is expected to pave the way towards a regionally integrated digital economy, the ASEAN bloc said.

Since the outbreak of the COVID pandemic, e-commerce has grown exponentially and became the major driving force in the digital transformation. ASEAN is on track to become a US$1 trillion internet economy by 2030, propelled by a fast-growing base of digital consumers and merchants, acceleration in e-commerce, and food delivery, the association said.

“The ASEAN’s internet economy is estimated to reach US$170 billion in gross merchandise value by the end of 2021, and more than US$360 billion by 2025, outpacing the earlier projection of US$300 billion according to the sixth edition of Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company’s “e-Conomy Southeast Asia (SEA) Report 2021,” according to ASEAN.