US-ASEAN Business Council Hosts First ASEAN-US Digital Policy Consultative Forum (DPCF) of 2019, Supports Public-Private Collaboration in Creating Enabling Environments for Increased Investment in ASEAN’s Data Ecosystem

(Manila) – The US-ASEAN Business Council, together with the Government of the Philippines and the ASEAN Secretariat, hosted the first ASEAN-U.S. Digital Policy Consultative Forum (DPCF) of 2019 on April 8 in Manila, Philippines. This DPCF was the first of a three-part series to be held on the sidelines of each of the ASEAN-Telecommunications and Information Technology Senior Officials and ASEAN Telecommunications Regulators’ Council (TELSOM-ATRC) meetings in 2019. The Council worked with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) of the Government of the Philippines, as host of the first 2019 ASEAN TELSOM-ATRC Leaders’ Retreat, and supported policy makers and stakeholders in exchanging views on how to create an enabling environment for increased investment and growth of the data ecosystem in ASEAN.

“As ASEAN economies embrace the many opportunities for growth and development made possible through digitally enabling technologies, it will be incumbent upon regulators to craft a secure and transparent digital data architecture that both protects users and undergirds ASEAN’s distinction as a hub for digital innovation,” said Shay Wester, Director of Trade and Industry at the US-ASEAN Business Council. “Promoting regular public-private collaboration on digital data policy issues is imperative in ensuring a healthy investment environment that supports perpetual growth and innovation in the digital sector. The Digital Policy Consultative Forum aims to serve as the critical platform wherein ASEAN and U.S. companies may engage in sustained dialogue to share experiences and work together to maintain a robust, resilient, and investment-friendly ASEAN digital data ecosystem.”

The DPCF included two informative panel sessions, which provided insights from industry representatives and policymakers on approaches to creating an enabling environment to attract increased investment into ASEAN’s data ecosystem. These panel sessions were accompanied by two highly interactive breakout sessions, in which industry, academic and government stakeholders had the chance to discuss challenges and solutions to establishing the key factors to attract investment to ASEAN’s data ecosystem. The Forum had active participation from around 40 representatives from ASEAN Governments, private sector companies, academics and subject matter experts.

Representatives from the following ASEAN Ministries participated in the event: the Ministry of Communications of Brunei, The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Laos, The Department of Information and Communications Technology of the Philippines, and the Ministry of Information and Communications of Vietnam. As host of the first 2019 ASEAN TELSOM-ATRC Leaders’ Retreat, Acting Secretary and Officer-in-Charge of DICT, H.E. Eliseo M. Rio Jr., also provided remarks during the event.

This first DPCF event was kindly sponsored by Amazon Web Services, Cisco Systems, Facebook, Google, IBM, and Symantec. US-ASEAN Business Council members that participated included AIG, Cisco Systems, Facebook, Google, IBM, Oracle and Symantec. Industry participants from non-Council member companies also included representatives from: Amihan Global Strategies, the Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA), C&M International, the Lazada Group, and the University of the Philippines College of Law.

The Council’s DPCF as a whole aims to provide a platform for in-depth public-private dialogue and exchange of digital data governance best practices to support ASEAN in strengthening its digital data governance regimes, attract investments, and facilitate the growth and security of its data ecosystem. The second DPCF will be held alongside the ASEAN TELSOM-ATRC Joint Working Group (JWG) Meeting, which will take place from May 7-9 in Yangon, and the third, and final, DPCF will be held alongside the 2nd ASEAN TELSOM-ATRC Leaders’ Retreat in Bangkok, which is tentatively scheduled for August.

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For 35 years, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for US corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's membership, more than 160 companies, generate over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people globally. Members include the largest US companies conducting business in ASEAN, and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for over 100 years. The Council has offices in: Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; and Singapore.