ASEAN bloc agrees to work on digital trade pact that could become reality by 2025 • The Register


The ASEAN free trade and economic bloc has agreed to develop a digital trade pact, and South Korea wants to play.

ASEAN has ten members who collectively have roughly the same economic weight as the UK or France, and negotiate together on trade issues with other blocs like the European Union. The Bloc members, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, are expected to grow very rapidly in the coming years, making ASEAN of considerable importance to world trade and diplomacy.

The ministers from the bloc with economic responsibilities met over the past week, and one item they agreed on is ASEAN’s “digital transformation agenda to accelerate economic recovery and integration. ASEAN Digital Economy ”- a document that outlines a plan“ to deepen ASEAN digital. integration and connectivity from 2021 to 2025 in the context of COVID-19 “.

The transformation agenda outlines a broader agreement called the ASEAN Digital Economy Framework Agreement (DEFA) that ministers agreed to define by 2023 and start negotiating by 2025.

The objective of the agreement is the fluidity and security of data flows between members, in the service of faster flows of physical goods. Harmonization of the rules is necessary for everything to work, hence the long horizons for the drafting of the framework agreement.

South Korea is not a member of ASEAN, but since its decision on Monday to sign the Digital Economic Partnership Agreement (DEPA) – a trade pact that has goals very similar to ASEAN’s DEFA – suggested that DEPA could be a very good model for a pact between South Korea and ASEAN, or perhaps for ASEAN itself.

Once again, the objective is to make exchanges more fluid. The same goes for China’s ambitions, as the Middle Empire’s Belt and Road initiative includes both physical infrastructure to move goods and digital initiatives to facilitate the inevitable administration that comes with trade. cross-border. ®

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