Since nothing happens within ASEAN until it is integrated into the appropriate institutional framework, these are important results. ACCEC is now formally responsible for managing the objectives of ASEAN`s e-commerce and digital commerce policy. THE SEOM will have to report regularly on the progress made to ministers and then to heads of state and government. ACCEC`s mission is to cooperate with other ASEAN groups, which are also important to the success of the e-commerce and digital commerce objectives. As the agreement itself indicates, this includes future work in areas such as data protection, intellectual property and facilitation of customs and trade. This commitment has not been made. The final agreement will therefore be greeted with a yawn by many companies, who will probably be quite disappointed by the results contained in the document. A second obstacle to creating a useful agreement for digital commerce was the lack of commitment to the economy. While it is generally preferable to discuss with businesses when negotiating trade issues, in the field of developing e-commerce and in the digital field, it is absolutely essential that public servants constantly discuss ideas with the business community. However, most of the agreement remains at the level of cooperation, particularly with regard to the key elements that are of greatest concern to businesses. These include commitments that will include issues related to ICT infrastructure, the legal and regulatory environment, electronic payment and settlement, trade facilitation, intellectual property rights in the digital age, competition policy, cybersecurity, etc.

The ASEAN e-commerce agreement kicks off the process. Member State governments must continue to seize opportunities at national and regional level in order to effectively achieve the potential growth prospects that will be available in the future. Businesses must be prepared to respond with specific recommendations for their participation in order to contribute to the implementation of effective e-commerce and digital policies for ASEAN. However, as with many things in ASEAN, all is not lost. This agreement is the starting point for a new debate on e-commerce and digital commerce. The agreement will be overseen by senior economic officials (SEOM) and implemented by the ASEAN E-Commerce Coordination Committee (ACCEC). CACCC will coordinate with other ASEAN agencies. In the meantime, ASEAN has begun to make progress in another important area by signing an e-commerce agreement. The deal was concluded in November 2018, but the text was finally published last week. Part of the challenge of developing an agreement that could be important for business is the wide diversity of capacity between ASEAN Member States.

This is of course a recurring challenge for ASEAN, but the distance between ASEAN countries is particularly evident in the digital space. Even the state of knowledge between officials responsible for artisanal policy can vary considerably. It is therefore necessary for ASEAN to begin to address e-commerce and digital trade in a regional way. The Google/Temasek report outlines benefits that are already being paid to the region, even though there are no coordinated policies. These include $23 billion in e-commerce sales from 120 million buyers, $30 billion for online travel services and $8 billion for online transportation and food supply by 35 million users who carry more than 8 million trips per day. Keeping these innovative goods and services moving and paying the price for them will be essential for ASEAN in the future. Most of the nearly 2500 MSMEs participating in our Asia Pacific MSME Trade Coalition (AMTC) are active in e-commerce and digital commerce. Although not all of them are based in ASEAN, many people are committed to or support the