US-ABC Virtual Workshop Addresses Digital Trade Standards and Conformance

The US-ASEAN Business Council hosted a two-day workshop on Digital Trade Standards and Conformance on December 7 and 8, 2021. The workshop was initiated as a result of the Council and U.S. Department of Commerce’s engagements with the ASEAN Consultative Committee on Standards and Quality’s (ACCSQ) and the Digital Trade Standards and Conformance Working Group (DTSCWG) in May and June of 2021.

The workshop was held to support ASEAN’s regional economic integration agenda through harmonization of digital trade rules and minimization of unnecessary technical barriers that may impede digital trade. The panel sessions convened representatives from U.S. and ASEAN government regulators as well as leading U.S. companies and thought leaders around the trade and ICT sectors where they focused their discussions on good regulatory practices in ICT industry and three key areas: digital trust, digital transactions, and digital logistics & delivery.

In his welcome remarks, Ambassador Michael Michalak, the Council’s Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director underscored that, “ASEAN has immense potential to double down on regional economic integration by keeping barriers to trade as low as possible and thus becoming an engine of growth in an otherwise stagnant global economy.”

The ASEAN Digital Trade Standards and Conformance Working Group (DTSCWG) was recently formed with those shared objectives. Ms. Bui Thi Thanh Hang, the Chair of the DTSCWG, highlighted how digital trade has been a key priority for ASEAN to bounce back from the COVID-19 pressures, as reflected in the various ASEAN cooperation frameworks, including the Bandar Seri Begawan Roadmap: An ASEAN Digital Transformation Agenda to Accelerate Economic Recovery and Digital Economy Integration, that was endorsed by the ASEAN Leaders at their last Summit in October. She said, “the workshop today is a manifestation of ASEAN’s partnership with the U.S. stakeholders and a beginning to many more collaboration in the years ahead.”

The Council’s Standards Sub-Committee Chair, Mr. Phil Piqueira, the Vice President for Global Standards at Underwriters Laboratories and the Chair of American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Board of Directors, concurred that digital trade has tremendous benefits, but there are pain points that remain to be addressed. “The World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (WTO TBT) Agreement could serve as a main reference for policymakers to overcome these challenges by harmonizing technical regulations through the use of international standards. This helps to achieve digital trade policy objectives to protect consumers, while facilitating trading of goods and services across borders, and supporting ASEAN regional integration,” Phil said in his keynote remarks.

Joining Underwriters Laboratories, the workshop was also generously supported by Google and FedEx. Following this workshop, the U.S. business community looks forward to partnering with ASEAN governments in advancing the region’s digital trade ecosystem.

The workshop was attended by more than 150 participants representing all 10 ASEAN Member States from different government agencies, the ASEAN Secretariat, U.S. government officials and the U.S. business community.


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Since 1984, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for U.S. corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's membership of nearly 170 companies generates almost US$7 trillion in revenue and employs more than 14.5 million people.  Today our members include the largest U.S. companies conducting business in ASEAN and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for more than 100 years. The Council has nine offices around the globe, in Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; Singapore; and Yangon, Myanmar.