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ASEAN Nations See Improved Rules Yielding $2 Trillion Digital Economy By 2030

The bloc is working to establish protocols in data and payments, as well as address emerging trends, including AI.

ASEAN member states are working to establish protocols that will ease cross-border digital trade and help to address emerging trends, such as artificial intelligence (AI).

Targeted to be completed by 2025, the ASEAN Digital Economic Framework Agreement will improve digital rules across key areas, including digital trade, cybersecurity, payments, and data. The framework aims to facilitate seamless cross-border online trade and make it easier to do business within the region, said Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).

A "high-quality" ASEAN digital economy framework has the potential to double the region's digital economy from $1 trillion to $2 trillion by 2030, said MTI, citing research by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Commissioned by the ASEAN member states, the study polled more than 2,000 micro firms and small and midsize businesses (SMBs), and included insights from 60 business leaders at large enterprises.

BCG forecasts Asean's collective GDP will grow by almost 4.6% every year for the rest of the decade, with the trade bloc set to be the world's fourth largest by 2030. With nominal GDP at $3.6 trillion, the region has a total population of 685 million, of which more than two-thirds are of working age.


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