ICT Update: Notes from the ICT Committee Q1 2019 Call

ICT Update | January 28, 2019
Authors: Ella Duangkaew, Alson Soh

On January 24, the ICT Committee held its first Committee Call for 2019. The call focused on:

  • The recent 2018 TELMIN engagement, both successes and lessons learned
  • The draft 2019 ICT Committee Work Plan (attached to this Update), specifically its overarching themes and plans for 2019 activities
  • A review of current advocacy priorities and strategies, particularly in Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia

Please note there will be an in-person ICT Committee Meeting in Singapore on February 15 to facilitate further strategic discussion on the topics and engagements raised in this call. In-person participation of regional leaders is highly encouraged. Click here to register for the meeting, and for more information. 

A PDF version of the call notes can also be found attached.


Call Notes:

Key Takeaways/Action Items:

  • The ICT Committee is focusing in on a set of high priority engagements and priority advocacy issues. See our 2019 ICT Committee Work Plan (attached) to see what we are focusing on.
  • There will be an in-person ICT Committee Meeting on February 15 at Cisco’s new Singapore Office. Click here to register for the meeting, and invite your regional business leaders
    • The goal of this meeting will be to have a strategic discussion of our priority advocacy goals, and how we can align our messaging to most effectively progress these goals
  • Separate planning calls will be convened for each priority engagement listed in the work plan, particularly the Digital Policy Consultative Forums, the Joint AEM-TELMIN Roadshow, and the ASEAN OTT Dialogue

Welcome – Ambassador Michael Michalak

  • First Committee Call for 2019
  • Will discuss TELMIN, 2019 Work Plan: planned activities for the year, advocacy priorities
  • Please note that we plan on having a follow up in-person discussion to this call on February 15, hosted by our ICT Committee Chair, Cisco.

Welcome- Naveen Menon, Cisco, ICT Committee Chair

  • My goal as Chair is to help address common issues the committee faces
    • Privacy, personal data, 5G, IoT, cybersecurity
    • We want to develop a systemic and sustainable approach to address this list of issues    
  • Want to meet face to face with as many regional CEOs and government affairs teams in the committee over the next 2-3 months
    • In-person meeting in Singapore on 15 February 2019

TELMIN 2018 Engagement Readout and Discussion- Ambassador Michalak

    • 13 companies attending, nearly double increase from last year
    • First plenary luncheon with Ministers, longest slot of any private sector group at 1.5-2 hours
      • Had attendance of every TELMIN/TELSOM leader + ASEAN Secretariat and ITU
    • 9 Bilateral meetings were conducted:
      • 7 with ASEAN (Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Myanmar)
      • 2 with Dialogue Partners (USG + Japan)

TELMIN 2018 Feedback – Naveen Menon, ICT Committee Chair

      • Positive feedback and value from TELMIN
      • Ministers are very willing to engage with companies
      • Good relaxed environment that allowed for open, informal discussion
      • The feedback heard at the forum was accurate and largely reflective of group
      • Some messages were not conveyed well and less reflective of the committee because different companies have different positions on certain policies
        • Need to come together to better align our messaging ahead of such engagements
        • May be the case where it is a more collective presentation, and each company with specific expertise on a topic will present on that topic, rather than just one company presenting on behalf of the group

TELMIN 2018 Feedback – Alex Feldman

      • Note that we only had 2 speakers at TELMIN because the TELMIN leaders demanded the presenters be business leads
      • For such high-level meetings ASEAN Ministers now demand that business leads attend
      • Please encourage your business leads to attend these engagement

2019 Work Plan Discussion – Shay Wester

  • Overarching Themes
      • Create a “center of gravity” around USABC to consult ASEAN on digital economy issues
      • Received feedback from members to focus on specific, high level regional engagements
      • Will also continue proactive advocacy on specific issues for each country
  • Plans for 2019 Activities
      • Digital Policy Consultative Forum (DPCF)
        • Continuation of initiative launched last year
        • 3 forums will be planned alongside 2019 TELSOM Meetings
        • The central theme lies in strengthening digital date governance in ASEAN
        • The planning of these forum is also timely in view of the passing of the ASEAN Framework on Digital Data Governance at 2018 TELMIN
        • Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia currently looking into passing new data protection laws.
        • First forum will be held in the Philippines alongside the TELSOM-ATRC Leaders’ Retreat in March
        • Will aim to discuss how ASEAN can create an enabling environment to incentivize greater investments in the data ecosystem, and policy approaches to support this
          • There may be a need to look into country-specific data protection laws and provide clarifications.
        • More information for Philippines DPCF will be out soon. This will be updated and facilitated through separate calls
      • Supporting ASEAN OTT Dialogue
        • ASEAN has proposed to formalize a biannual public-private consultative dialogue on Over the Top (“OTT”) services, which has been strongly pushed by Malaysia
        • USABC is discussing with Malaysia’s MCMC (who are leading the planning of the dialogue) on Friday, 25 January for next steps in planning dialogue
        • The planning of the Dialogue will be alternated between being industry-led and Government-led. This was last planned by Malaysia in 2018.
        • It is largely unconfirmed, but Malaysia initially planned for the Dialogue to be in March or April, in line with the first 2019 TELSOM meeting in Philippines
      • Member Comment:
        • Everyone has different perspectives on how to approach advocacy around OTT policy, we need to share perspectives and align our approach before proceeding
        • In doing so, we can provide a nuanced stance with robust dialogue
        • We want to promote a light-touch approach and regulatory simplification
        • Regional landscape and its policy development should be taken into consideration
          • Look at countries actively approaching on OTT policies which may sway ASEAN’s outlook, such as India
      • Cybersecurity Capacity Building Activities (with CSA)
        • Had the third Singapore Joint Cybersecurity Working Group Meeting on 23 January 2019
        • One of CSA’s current priority lies with capacity building efforts in ASEAN
        • Something noteworthy is the new US-SG Cybersecurity Technical Assistance Programme (CTAP) which was signed 16 November 2018
        • CSA is organizing a three-day workshop from 23-25 April in Singapore to raise cybersecurity capabilities, through which they have potential spots for industry speakers and site visits to be filled
        • There will be another meeting with CSA on this topic soon, details will be sent out should committee members be interested to be a part of this as planners or participants
        • 20 director level cybersecurity officials from around ASEAN have been expected to attend this event, so it is a good opportunity.
      • Engaging ASEAN Digital Ministers’ Retreat
        • Another ASEAN Digital Ministers’ Retreat is expected to take place in April or May this year in Thailand.
        • Proposed by Thailand at the 2018 TELMIN as complementary to TELMIN, but more disruptive and innovative (I.e. will include Cyber “War Games” competition)
        • No further details as of now, but will share more as they come
      • Joint AEM-TELMIN Roadshow
        • A joint AEM-TELMIN Roadshow is currently being worked on internally by the Council alongside relevant bodies. This will take place in the US.
        • The proposal for the roadshow was presented to the US in August last year, and later presented to TELMIN at Bali in December.
        • More details will be provided when the plans are confirmed.
      • Member Question:
        • When will the timing for the events in Thailand be confirmed?
      • Answer: Ambassador Michalak:
        • There are no known plans for now, but meetings will be underway with the Thai government at the end of this week to provide clarification on how the election will be run and how the scheduling for ASEAN events will fit into this

Advocacy Priorities

Vietnam- Vu Tu Thanh

    • Updates circulated in document sent to members prior to the call
    • Law on Cybersecurity Draft Decree
      • Progress has been good thus far on removing damaging provisions in the early drafts of the Cybersecurity Draft decree.
      • Had 2 major engagements on this decree: with the Vietnamese Prime Minister’s economic advisory team (PMEAT) and the drafting team from Ministry of Public Security
      • USABC organized a trip for PMEAT to the US previously for a week to meet State Department and tech companies
      • PMEAT are on board with the US Government and industry suggestions on how the best legal framework will be drawn up for consideration
      • Chief advisor of the delegation has personally briefed the Vietnamese PM. An official report will be drafted to recommend that other government stakeholders, aside from the ministry of public security, should be roped in to deliberate on the Decree.
      • Relations with the drafting team at Ministry of Public Security and ability to connect with the Ministers has vastly improved, with efforts from Alex and Amb. Michalak
      • They requested our discreet inputs to provide the right political cover and substantive policy recommendation for the drafting.
      • They will aim to help strike a balance between private interest and the political context the Vietnamese government operates in.
      • A workshop on cybersecurity and anti-privacy law is currently under the plans before the Vietnam March 12-14 Business Mission.
    • Data Privacy Decree:
      • Ministry of Public Security wanted to delay the drafting of data privacy decree but has been pushed by the government to hasten it because of its imperativeness.
        • There is currently no data privacy legislation that is enacted in Vietnam, which creates numerous regulatory issues.
        • Privacy legal frameworks around the world are constantly evolving, and Vietnam is not sure how to go about it. They hope to seek tech inputs from the industry.
    • Member Question:
      • What is the timing for the workshop in March?
      • Will decree be signed before workshop?
    • Answer: Vu Tu Thanh
      • Workshop will be the morning of March 12 at the beginning of the Business Mission, it seems unlikely the decree would be signed before

Thailand- Ella Duangkaew

    • Update on Cybersecurity Bill & Personal Data Protection Bill
      • Both bills have been passed by the Thai cabinet, and are under final review by the National Legislative Assembly and likely to be passed by the end of the month
      • It remains uncertain what the final drafts will contain, and there is cause for concern that the drafts still contain many problematic clauses for industry 
        • The best strategy going forward will be to engage closely on the implementation of the bills, as was done with the technical workshop hosted on October 30 for the Personal Data Protection Bill

      • The implementation of the laws won’t happen for quite some time until the Thai elections in March and the new government settles in, most likely any implementation activities would begin around Q4
      • The leadership of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society is tipped to change, so this may potentially delay it further.
      • Once the changes have set in, it would be a good opportunity to continue engaging and ensure enjoyed communication with new leaders
      • Another important piece of news would be that the ASEAN calendar dates are set and are confirmed to not be changed due to elections.

Indonesia- Angga Antagia

    • Update on GR82
      • The updated draft was deliberated upon last December during a roundtable session with the Division of KOMINFO.
      • However, the draft has since been sent back to them for further discussion. There are currently no agreements on the issue about high electronic classification and offshore data issues.
      • It is to be noted that there is opposition by the Financial Services Authority of Indonesia (OJK) to allow financial data to be offshored
      • Any follow ups on the current situation will be communicated to members.
    • Update on Data Privacy Bill in Indonesia
      • A draft has been prepared but there is no formal or public consultation as of now. The draft closely mirrors the EU’s GDPR
      • The draft will be sent to the President’s office, and then to the House of Representatives towards the end of January or early February for more discussion
      • The Council will update and translate relevant documents once they are available for purview.
      • The Council has proposed that the draft adheres to the APEC Cross-border Privacy Rules (CBPR). Similarly, updates on the Data Privacy Bill will be provided once information is disseminated from the Indonesian Government.
    • Digital Tariff Line
      • As per the last meeting with the Indonesian customs office in August 2018, the Indonesian government thinks that it complies with the WTO moratorium on e-commerce because the tariff line is set is 0%
      • Will continue to advocate for removal of the tariff line and its violation of the WTO moratorium if increase beyond 0%
    • E-Commerce Tax
      • Came into effect on January 1, 2019
      • Notification of imported good is on voluntary basis
      • The Indonesian E-Commerce Association (idEA) has rejected the proposal of an E-commerce tax, Finance Ministry replied that the tax will not be imposed on newcomers in the industry.
    • Member Comment
      • We understand that there are media reports talking about an update from the news about changes to Indonesia’s negative investment list, especially on FDI for telecommunications. No further news has been reported since then, so any updates on the situation will be helpful.
      • Answer: Angga Antagia: We have received no update on the negative investment list, but will share any updates we do receive
    • Member Comment
      • Disconnect between KOMINFO and Customs on which HS code to import network routers
      • KOMINFO says to use 6517.62.21 which has no duty
      • Customs Office says to use 6517.62.49, which has 10% importation duty
      • Disconnect is causing supply chain confusion for members
    • Member Comment
      • We share Customs issues in Indonesia as well
      • There have been many cases of product regulatory challenges in terms of testing, labelling, market surveillance requirement
    • Member Comment
      • According to our intel, the implementation of ministerial regulation for GR82 is ready for legal enforcement once the bill passes.
      • Suggestion to take a look on it earlier so that companies can be ready to follow up once it is enacted.
    • Member Comment
      • Company has been experiencing numerous Country of Origin Issues in Vietnam, which seems to be informal issues at first glance.
      • It will be useful to have offline meetings about it should other companies are facing the issue as well.
    • Answer: Ella Duangkaew: Our Deputy Country Representative Bui Kim Thuy used to be the chief negotiator for country of origin for Vietnam and is well positioned to support these issues, be sure to contact her for support.

Next StepsElla Duangkaew

      • In person meeting on 15 February, please invite regional leaders to meeting
      • Will convene separate planning calls on DPCF and OTT Dialogue shortly