Representatives attend the signing ceremony of ASEAN's agreement on e-commerce, in Singapore, on Nov. 12, 2018. Trade ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states signed an agreement on e-commerce on Monday, encouraging paperless trading between businesses and governments of the bloc to generate rapid and efficient transactions. (Xinhua/Then Chih Wey)
SINGAPORE, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Trade ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states signed an agreement on e-commerce on Monday, encouraging paperless trading between businesses and governments of the bloc to generate rapid and efficient transactions.
The ASEAN Agreement on E-Commerce, the bloc's first deal to facilitate cross-border e-commerce transactions, was hammered out after nine rounds of negotiations among the 10 member states and was signed during the 33rd ASEAN Summit and related meetings.
It aims at facilitating cross-border e-commerce transactions, creating an environment of trust and confidence in the use of e-commerce and deepening cooperation to drive regional economic growth.
Singaporean Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said at the signing ceremony that ASEAN is the world's fastest growing market, with 330 million internet users. By 2025, ASEAN's internet economy is set to quadruple to 200 billion U.S. dollars from 50 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, with e-commerce expected to grow to 88 billion U.S. dollars.
The agreement is testament to ASEAN's commitment to creating a conducive environment for the growth of e-commerce through advancing trade rules in e-commerce and building up greater digital connectivity within the region, the minister said.
With the agreement, businesses can access and move data across borders more easily, subject to appropriate security safeguards, the minister said.
"This agreement will help bolster the trust and confidence of ASEAN consumers in e-commerce and drive adaption. In doing so, we will enable ASEAN businesses to grow domestically, regionally and globally," he added.
ASEAN was established in August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. The group later expanded to include Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.