Asean businesses will do better without barriers to cross-border data flow

Asean leaders at their recent summit pledged to build a "conducive environment" for the growth of e-commerce. It is a worthy goal that will help businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), reap the gains to be had from greater regional trade flows.

But much work needs to be done to put words into action if Asean is to establish trade rules for online transactions and enhance digital connectivity for the movement of goods and services across borders. Member countries would not only have to upgrade their infrastructure but also settle on region-wide harmonised policies and regulations for e-payment solutions, online security and data protection.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2018, with the headline 'Asean businesses will do better without barriers to cross-border data flow'. Subscribe