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The Philippines to Strengthen E-Commerce Partnerships with China

The Philippines and China signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on electronic commerce (e-commerce) to strengthen cooperation in the trade sector. The partnership was done during the state visit of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to China, with DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual and Chinese Minister of Commerce, Wang Wentao.

Under the MoU, the two countries vowed to promote trade of high-quality featured products and services; pursue business exchange between micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and e-commerce platforms, start-ups, and logistics service providers; and share best practices and innovative experiences in utilising e-commerce.

“This agreement will make it easier to share experiences, best practices, important information, and trade and e-commerce policies. We anticipate initiatives to promote consumer and merchant protection, intellectual property, data security, and privacy regulations. This MoU will help to strengthen our local enterprises’ ability to compete in the modernising business sector,” DTI Secretary Pascual explained.

The MoU is in line with the agenda of the E-Commerce Philippine 2022 Roadmap, which intends to expand cross-border collaboration and market access through trade agreements and cooperation programmes with important e-commerce trading partners.

The MoU will also push for capacity-building programmes to improve MSMEs’ knowledge and skills to maximise their potential in e-commerce. It establishes the Working Group on Electronic Commerce between Manila and Beijing as a focal point of coordination for the two sides.

Countries in Southeast Asia accelerated their e-commerce business. The White Book on Vietnamese E-business 2022 reported that with online marketplaces now a vital distribution channel in digitalisation, Vietnamese enterprises are investing more in expanding their presence on these platforms. According to the book, those doing business on social networks spurred 41% in 2021 and 57% in 2022.

Despite the pandemic’s impacts in 2020 and 2021, e-commerce has still flourished in Vietnam and is expected to increase by double digits this year, placing it third in Southeast Asia. Moreover, the Vietnamese e-commerce market is predicted to be the fastest-growing in Southeast Asia by 2026. Another 2022 study by a big data analysis company indicated that Vietnam is emerging as the second largest e-commerce market in Southeast Asia, second only after Indonesia.

Meanwhile, the gross merchandise value (GMV) of Indonesia’s digital economy is predicted to rise more than fivefold by 2030, reaching IDR 24 quadrillion (US$1.5 trillion). As a result, the contribution of the digital economy to total GDP increases by 18%, or nearly IDR 4,531 trillion (US$290 trillion). As a result, Indonesia’s digital economy will be worth twice as much as the rest of Southeast Asia.

Bank Indonesia said that considerable e-commerce growth mirrored Indonesia’s trade-side digital economic growth. E-commerce transactions climbed by 22.1% year on year to IDR 227.8 trillion (US$15 trillion) in the first half of 2022, while volume increased by 39.9% to 1.74 million transactions.

In response to the country’s greater and broader expansion of online trading firms, Indonesia’s Ministry of Trade recently updated online trading legislation. Minister Zulkifli Hasan referred to the amended Minister of Trade (Permendag) Number 50 of 2020 on Provisions for Business Licensing, Advertising, Guidance, and Supervision of Business Actors in Trading.

The more equitable treatment of domestic and foreign business actors, as well as formal and informal business actors, should arise from better policy. Improvements will safeguard national interests while also bolstering business actors, local products, and consumer protection; and supporting the expansion of e-commerce in Indonesia to give equal advantages to all parties involved in the electronic commerce ecosystem.

In Thailand, the government created a National Digital ID that allows users to access and authenticate numerous digital services, including e-commerce and financial technology. In addition, the single ID will improve service levels in both the private and public sectors. The ID will gain in the long run from a more flexible, safer, and efficient transportation system that cuts congestion and service costs.

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