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ASEAN officially launched the world's first Regional Digital Economy Framework Agreement

08:26 - 07/11/2023

Negotiations on the ASEAN Digital Economy Framework Agreement have been launched within the framework of the 23rd ASEAN Economic Community Council Meeting.

On September 3, at the 23rd ASEAN Economic Community Council Meeting held in Jakarta, Indonesia, ASEAN Economic Ministers officially launched negotiations on the ASEAN Digital Economic Framework Agreement (DEFA) – considered the world's first major region-wide Digital Economy Agreement.


The Conference also adopted the DEFA Negotiating Framework, which will guide DEFA negotiations by implementing the negotiating objectives and principles, reviewing the areas to be negotiated and setting out the process and framework negotiation time.

The launch of ASEAN DEFA negotiations took place after the ASEAN DEFA study was approved at the 55th ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting (AEM) in Semarang, Indonesia on August 19. The study identified nine core elements, including digital trade, cross-border e-commerce, cybersecurity, digital ID, digital payments, cross-border data flows and other Emerging topics are expected to be covered in the DEFA negotiations.

Indonesian Coordinating Minister of the Economy Airlangga Hartarto, in his role as Chairman of the AEC Council 2023, said that the region will make efforts towards completing ASEAN's DEFA negotiations by 2025 and commit to creating a digital ecosystem. sustainable and inclusive digital.

ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn emphasized that the launch of DEFA negotiations stands out as one of the most notable achievements in ASEAN year 2023. Strong, advanced and forward-looking DEFA is expected to complement up to $2 trillion for the regional digital economy by 2030, strengthening the region's dynamism and competitiveness in the global economy.

The DEFA ASEAN Negotiating Committee (NC) is chaired by Thailand and includes lead negotiators from the 10 ASEAN member states. The ASEAN DEFA NC has overall responsibility for negotiating DEFA provisions based on the principles, processes and timelines identified in the ASEAN DEFA Negotiating Framework.

The first meeting of the ASEAN DEFA NC is scheduled to take place at the end of 2023. Subsequent meetings will be conducted in 2024 and 2025, with a view to concluding the ASEAN DEFA negotiations in 2025.

With the DEFA agreement, online trade between countries in Southeast Asia will become faster and more convenient as ASEAN begins to build a new framework that could unlock a potential of $2 trillion for the digital economy by 2030. This will facilitate more seamless cross-border digital trade.

The framework will make it easier to do business in the region by improving rules in key areas such as digital trade facilitation and payments.

According to research conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, the agreement is expected to double the region's digital economy from $1 trillion to $2 trillion by 2030. DEFA has the potential to boost ambitions region's digital economy and promote socio-economic progress. It will enable ASEAN to further democratize access to cutting-edge digital technology through the cloud for everyone - from fast-growing startups to large enterprises and agencies leading government.

The region's diverse economies can unlock greater potential through more integrated digital economic cooperation. Interoperable digital economic systems, cross-border data flows and digital trade are all essential to building a trusted digital environment that can drive growth. across Southeast Asian economies.

At the September 3 meeting, ASEAN also emphasized the importance of improving implementation by innovating economic community processes to ensure the region has a successful and resilient future.

ASEAN endorsed an agreement previously made by economic ministers on sustainable energy security through connectivity. The digital economy, as well as other issues, will be among the topics ASEAN leaders will discuss at the 43rd ASEAN Summit and related meetings.