27 September 2023

On 3 September 2023, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (“MTI”) issued a press release announcing that ASEAN, at the 23rd ASEAN Economic Community (“AEC”) Council Meeting, has launched negotiations on the ASEAN Digital Economic Framework Agreement (“DEFA”) and announced its intention to bolster regional economic integration.

The MTI notes the launching of negotiations on DEFA as a major milestone in ASEAN’s digital integration journey. DEFA, once concluded, will facilitate more seamless cross-border digital trade by improving digital rules in key areas such as digital trade facilitation, payments, standards and data. The DEFA is targeted for conclusion by 2025.

The meeting also committed to bolstering regional economic integration, amid a challenging global economic environment. The AEC Council emphasised the importance of improving implementation by refreshing the AEC’s processes to ensure a successful and resilient future for ASEAN.

Reference materials

The press release is available on the MTI website www.mti.gov.sg.