The ASEAN economy constitutes a combined market size of more than 640 million people with a large and literate young population, and a growing middle class with a combined GDP of US$2.8 trillion in 2017. Expected economic growth remains stable at 5.2% for 2018 and 2019. Maintaining the growth momentum and strengthening the regional integration agenda will propel ASEAN towards becoming the 4th largest global economy by 2050. To ensure ASEAN continues to prosper, the growth of our economy should leverage upon the opportunities of the digital economy.
The ‘resilient and innovative’ theme of Singapore’s 2018 Chairmanship of ASEAN is consistent with the overall goal of positioning ASEAN as a region of seamless business activities and opportunities in the digital economy. ASEAN has introduced several initiatives this year to promote digitalisation in the region, including the ASEAN Agreement on E-Commerce and the ASEAN Digital Integration Framework. In 2016, Member States adopted the ASEAN Framework on Personal Data Protection to underpin the basic principles of and strengthen the protection of personal data in ASEAN. These regional commitments when implemented will enable ASEAN to facilitate cross-border e-commerce and seamless trade, protect data while supporting digital trade and innovation, enable seamless digital payments domestically and regionally, broaden the digital talent base, foster entrepreneurship and coordinate actions through a single designated ASEAN body.
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