SINGAPORE – Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez together with other ASEAN economic ministers signed the ASEAN Agreement on E-commerce during the ASEAN Summit on 12 November 2018 in Singapore.

The agreement provides a set of policies, principles, and rules to govern cross-border e-commerce in ASEAN. It aims to provide a holistic approach on the development and promotion of e-commerce in the region, nurture an enabling e-commerce environment, and promote public interest.

The agreement is expected to benefit Philippine (PH) businesses—especially, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)—as well as Filipino consumers. “E-commerce enables MSMEs to have wider and greater market reach at practically no additional, or very minimal, overhead cost. It also allows consumers to have access to a wealth of products and services in the world,” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez on the importance of this agreement.

The agreement will facilitate cross-border e-commerce such as paperless trading, electronic authentication and electronic signatures, online consumer protection, cross-border transfer of information by electronic means, online personal information protection, and location of computing facilities. It will also deepen ASEAN cooperation in ICT infrastructure, education and technology competency, online consumer protection, e-commerce legal and regulatory frameworks, electronic transaction security, electronic payment and settlement, trade facilitation, intellectual property rights, competition, cybersecurity, and logistics.

For PH, the agreement will provide the push to further improve the policy environment and the necessary infrastructure for e-commerce. The entry of the third telecommunications provider in the country is a welcome move to enable more entrepreneurs to do e-commerce and enable the development of new business models enabled by e-commerce,” said Sec. Lopez.

The ASEAN Agreement on E-Commerce is one of the deliverables of the ASEAN Work Program on E-Commerce. Discussions on the Agreement started at the 2nd meeting of the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on E-Commerce (ACCEC) in June 2017 during the Philippines’ ASEAN hosting year, with negotiations concluded in July 2018.♦

Date of Release: 14 November 2018