Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo (Source: EPA/VNA)

Sydney (VNA) – Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo has announced a joint initiative between the Government of Australia and 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to promote digital trade and support inclusive economic growth in the region.

The Digital Trade Standards Initiative was published right after the ASEAN-Australia Business Conference which was held in Sydney on March 16 within the framework of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit.

The development of the ASEAN-Australia Digital Trade Standards Initiative will provide a framework to support the development, adoption and use of international digital trade standards, Ciobo said.

Harmonised international standards applied across the region will reduce the costs for Australian business when exporting and importing products and services, he stressed.

This will mean that a local business in Geelong or Townsville will be able to better access export markets in the region which is home to over 600 million consumers, Ciobo added.

The growth of ASEAN as an e-commerce market is outpacing global averages. Taken as a whole, ASEAN is expected to grow above 5.4 percent each year for the next decade and beyond. This growth creates immense opportunity for Australian businesses looking to sell their products and services online.

International standards that enable digital trade will remove barriers that prevent businesses from accessing regional markets and create new opportunities for jobs and growth. It will help share the benefits of a more inclusive digital economy.

This initiative complements ASEAN’s existing digital economy agenda and builds on Australia and ASEAN’s long history of standards cooperation to promote regional economic integration and inclusive economic growth.-VNA