The EU-ASEAN Business Council (ABC) released a new white paper calling on ASEAN to focus on the advancement of digital infrastructure and regulations including simplified customs clearance in order to boost economic growth and development in the Southeast Asia region.
The paper focuses on the policies needed to bring the full benefits of the so-called ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ (Industry 4.0) to Southeast Asia.
It recommends ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Member States allow for freest possible flow of data, faster development of digital infrastructure and opening to increased foreign investment, common standards and approaches to e-Commerce, and enhancements in education to equip the people of Southeast Asia to meet the increasing demands of the digital age.
“The EU-ABC continues to encourage ASEAN Member States to adopt proposals advocated by ASEAN and international business groups to facilitate faster and simplified customs clearances for low value shipments which would help MSMEs and boost e-commerce in ASEAN,” it says.
It also called for greater collaboration between the ASEAN Member States and the private sector.
The paper notes that “there are several areas where further regional development and collaboration is needed if ASEAN is to get the greatest possible benefit out of the digital economy.
“Creating an eco-system to encourage businesses to develop digital platforms to enable them to reach new markets and consumers, exchange and interpret effectively data, make and receive payments in a speedy and low-cost manner, while meeting the increasing demands and expectations of end-consumers, is of vital importance.”
Commenting on the EU-ABC’s recommendations set out in the paper, Donald Kanak, chairman of the EU-ABC, says: “European businesses appreciate the opportunity to contribute to healthy development of the Digital Economy in ASEAN.
“Creating the right policy environment for healthy development of the Digital Economy is critical for ASEAN’s international competitiveness and long term growth. Digital eco-systems require public and private collaboration, investment in infrastructure and education and constant focus on both accessibility and security.”
Chris Humphrey, executive director of the EU-ASEAN Business Council, adds: “Just as consumers are hungry for cheaper and faster delivery of goods and services, companies are faced with lagging infrastructure, institutions, and human capital development to meet the demands.
“While the foundations are being laid to support the digital economy, both the public and private sectors must co-operate to build a consistent and highly efficient system that empowers consumers, businesses, and governments by allowing for the freest possible flow of cross-border data, ensuring that the right infrastructure is in place to support the digital economy, and adopting best practices to ensure the smoother and faster flow of e-Commerce.”