ASEAN Should Relook Policies In Transformative Digital Economy

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 12 (Bernama) -- ASEAN needs to relook at its various policy initiatives, including trade and investment policies, in response to the transformative digital economy, said CIMB ASEAN Research Institute (CARI).

It also said addressing the challenges in digital and telecommunications infrastructure investment was fundamentally crucial in helping micro, small and medium sized enterprises of ASEAN to integrate with the global value chain.

This was despite the projection that the digital economy would add US$1 trillion to ASEAN's Gross Domestic Product by 2025.

In reviewing its policy initiatives, ASEAN must also deal with the potential impact of digital inequality as a result of the digital divide among ASEAN members and its people, it said in a statement.

“The digital economy is transformative. We must, however, make sure it is also inclusive.

"Do not forget globalisation too was transformative. But, it left many people behind in terms of income and employment, polarising societies in so many countries,” said Dr Munir Majid, Chairman, CIMB ASEAN Research Institute and ASEAN Business Club President.

Meanwhile, Richard Bolwijn, Head of Investment Research Branch, Division of Investment and Enterprise, UNCTAD, said investment in digital economy was not just about capital expenditure by telecommunication companies.

“Traditional industry firms also need to invest in the adoption of digital technologies, as industries most affected by the Internet are often of those where foreign investment is most neglected, such as transportation and pooled services,” he said.