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Trade dialogue with Kati Suominen

Published 25 June 2024

The e-commerce and digital services trade sectors in Southeast Asia have seen rapid growth, particularly since the pandemic. Hinrich Foundation Research Fellow Kati Suominen recently discussed the role of digital economy agreements in driving future growth in these sectors during a Trade Dialogue hosted at the Foundation’s Singapore office. Watch the recap here.

Watch the webinar:

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is at the forefront of global data governance as diverse data regulation models continue to emerge worldwide. However, several roadblocks affect the readiness of businesses in the region, particularly for small and medium size enterprises (SMEs). While SMEs in ASEAN are adopting artificial intelligence and green standards to stay future-ready, they face uncertainties about the merits and enforcement of digital agreements, highlighting the need for industry input in policy making. Challenges in interoperable systems, including for cross-border payments, continue to be a primary concern for businesses.

In her discussion, which included the importance of digital economy agreements and their relevance to SMEs, Kati Suominen expanded on e-commerce in ASEAN, the benefits of digital economy agreements, regulatory challenges faced by businesses, de minimis rules, and the future of digital agreements. Guests at the Trade Dialogue included representatives from SAP, eBay, the Singapore Business Federation, Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry, and trade-focused academics from the National University of Singapore and Singapore Management University.

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