Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong represented Singapore at the 23rd ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Council Meeting held on September 3, 2023 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The 23rd Meeting of the ACS Council is part of the 43rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summit Meetings and is chaired by Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto.

At the meeting, ASEAN Member States (AMS) launched negotiations on the ASEAN DEFA, an important milestone on the road to ASEAN digital integration. The ASEAN DEFA will facilitate smoother cross-border digital trade. It will facilitate business in the region by improving digital standards in key areas such as digital trade facilitation, payments, standards and data. It also aims to address emerging trends and developments of the first order, such as Artificial Intelligence.

According to the ASEAN DEFA study by the Boston Consultancy Group, a high-quality ASEAN DEFA is expected to double the regional digital economy from $1 trillion to $2 trillion by 2030. The ASEAN DEFA Finding is planned for 2025.

ASEAN launches first regional Digital Economy Framework Agreement

The Meeting also committed to reinforcing regional economic integration, in the midst of a difficult global economic environment. The ACS Council stressed the importance of improving implementation by updating ACS processes to ensure a successful and resilient future for ASEAN.

In addition to the ASEAN Carbon Neutrality Strategy, which will bring ASEAN closer to its vision of a carbon neutral future to seize the opportunities of the green economy, the AMS endorsed the Joint Declaration of the 41st Meeting of Energy Ministers of ASEAN (AMEM) on Sustainable Energy Security through Interconnectivity. This will diversify our energy supply chains by promoting the role of regional interconnectivity within the framework of the ASEAN Power Grid and the Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline.

A high-quality ASEAN DEFA is projected to double the regional digital economy from USD 1 trillion to USD 2 trillion by 2030

Minister Gan stated: “In an increasingly uncertain global trading environment, it is important that ASEAN remains committed to deeper economic integration, including in the energy sector, to unlock the region’s potential. Ongoing work on the ACS vision post-2025 and updating the ACS processes will continue to ensure that the region is well positioned to seize opportunities amid increased volatility and economic disruption.”

“The start of negotiations on the ASEAN Digital Economic Framework Agreement is based on the good work done by ASEAN. It will digitally unite our region and bring us closer to achieving an open, secure and competitive regional digital economy. Singapore looks forward to working with ASEAN member states to quickly conclude the negotiations and help our companies better take advantage of new growth opportunities,” he concluded.


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