Opportunities for cooperation in e-commerce await for Taiwan and ASEAN

An ASEAN E-Commerce Agreement will hopefully be signed by the end of 2018, says a Malaysian Minister

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Image from pixabay user The Digital Artist (modified)

Image from pixabay user The Digital Artist (modified)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – At a recent event in Malaysia coinciding with the 51st anniversary of the ASEAN organization, the country’s International Trade and Industry Minister Darell Leiking announced that his team is working on a comprehensive ASEAN e-commerce Agreement, that he hopes will narrow development gaps across the region via the use of innovative digital technologies.

Following Darell Leiking’s announcement at the “Unlocking the Potential of e-Commerce” seminar, Taiwan’s TECO office in Kuala Lumpur released a statement saying that e-commerce among ASEAN countries in only in the early stages of development, with 90 percent of startups and SMEs still conducting business according to traditional models.

Taiwan is of course in a position to assist the ASEAN nations develop their digital infrastructure, creating a vibrant network of e-commerce and digital connectivity throughout the region.

The New Straits Times reports that the digital market in East Asia may be worth US$200 billion by 2025, and Malaysia along with many other nations recognize the need to improve and expand the digital infrastructure of the region.

“With the talent we have, we must embrace the digital marketplaces to enhance our economy,” Darell said, adding "We should finalize this agreement by the end of this year.”

The agreement being drafted by the Malaysia Digital Economy Cooperation (MDEC) in cooperation with the country’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry is called the National E-Commerce Strategic Roadmap.

The goals it sets out to achieve include:

1.Accelerate seller adoption of eCommerce
2.Increase adoption of eProcurement by businesses
3.Lift non-tariff barriers (e-Fulfillment, cross-border, e-Payment, consumer protection)
4.Realign existing economic incentives
5.Make strategic investments in select eCommerce player(s)
6.Promote national brand to boost cross-border eCommerce

China Times reports that currently the digital economy of Malaysia accounts for about 17.2 percent of the country’s total GDP, which is expected to increase to 20 percent by 2020.

As Malaysia seeks to be a leader in spurring e-commerce development throughout South East Asia, Taiwan hopes these growing digital industries will provide plenty of room for bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the region.