ASEAN countries are urged to take the opportunity to increase trade with each other especially amid the current US-China trade tensions.
Minister of International Trade and Industry Darell Leiking said that given the bloc’s huge population of 642 million, collaboration should focus on strengthening ASEAN economies, particularly in the digital market, which is expected to be worth US$200 billion (US$1 =RM4.07) by 2025 from US$31 billion in 2015.
“Focus on what we (ASEAN) have, while other nations (such as the US and China) are going through their rough times.
“With the talent we have, we should create more interactions through Google, Facebook, e-portals and other social media platforms.
“We must be ready to embrace the digital marketplaces and enhance our economy,” Darell said after his welcoming remarks and presentation on “Unlocking the Potential of E-Commerce” in conjunction with the 51st ASEAN Day celebration here today.
He said to facilitate cross-border e-commerce transactions in the region, the ASEAN Agreement on e-Commerce is currently being finalised and is targeted to be concluded at the end of this year.
“We will update on the agreement when the time comes,” he said.
The objectives of the agreement, he said, include creating an environment of trust and confidence in the use of e-commerce, while driving inclusive growth and narrowing development gaps in the region.
Darell also said that he will be in Jakarta on Aug 10-12 to meet his Indonesian counterpart to discuss and enhance bilateral ties.