TradePAG Theme #6: Leveraging ASEAN Chairmanship: Formulating Priority for ASEAN Deliverables
Holding ASEAN Chairmanship 2023, with the theme “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth”, Indonesia focuses on one of priority issues in the ASEAN economic sector, i.e., digital economy. Digital transformation in ASEAN aims to strengthen the regional economic growth and to become epicentrum of growth. The main drivers of ASEAN digital transformation include some factors, such as strong fundamental ASEAN economic growth, large number of populations, as well as its share of young generation. In addition, fast growing and large number of internet users also support ASEAN digital transformation.
The urgency of promoting digital transformation has initiated several agreements related to digital economy within ASEAN members since 2000. These agreements include ASEAN Agreement on Electronic Commerce, 2018; e-ASEAN Framework Agreement, 2000; ASEAN Digital Master Plan 2025 Bandar Seri Begawan Roadmap (BSBR), 2021; dan Boracay Digital Declaration, 2023.
Indonesia, in the ASEAN Chairmanship, also realizes that ASEAN has potentials to accelerate digital transformation as drivers for economic growth. As a country member, Indonesia is acknowledged to become one of the fastest growing digital economies in the region as it owns huge potential and digital capacity, such as population size, production capacity, and human resources. With the rapid growth of digitalization, Indonesia has the opportunities to become a leader among ASEAN countries, as the trend setter and standard setter which ASEAN members might follow to accelerate digital transformation. Therefore, it is necessary to formulate strategic efforts on how Indonesia will carry on the national interests into the ASEAN Digital Economi Framework Agreement (DEFA
To strengthen Indonesia’s digital readiness in preparing the ASEAN DEFA, Government of Indonesia needs to carry out strategic policies and supports, as follows: 1) Supporting inclusive digital transformation; 2) Prioritizing and facilitating business actors and economic sectors in the adoption of digital technology and promoting innovations as it will provide benefits and assist their economic activities; (3) Focusing on government regulations to improve cybersecurity laws, data privacy, and competition regulations. (4) Mapping Indonesia's digital readiness.
In addition, Government of Indonesia should take strategic steps and efforts to strengthen digital readiness, in the context of the ASEAN Chairmanship and the ASEAN DEFA forum, such as: 1) Constructing a coherent regulatory framework for the digital economy as a priority collective effort that must be carried out to promote transparency in the design and implementation of intra-ASEAN digital regulations; 2) Promoting the same understanding of appropriate technology within ASEAN as a fundamental effort for the establishment of ASEAN Digital Community in the future; 3) Mapping the key elements and priorities for digital economy that will be adopted in ASEAN DEFA; 4) Strengtening joint efforts for enabling ecosystem to attract business groups and investors in ASEAN to diversify their business in digital technology; 5) Promoting the acceleration of microfinancing access for small enterprises in ASEAN, e.g. P2P financing for small enterprises; 6) Supporting mutual agreement and cooperation to accelerate inclusive digital transformation as efforts to reduce the gap in digital readiness among ASEAN countries.