The ASEAN Digital Economy Framework Agreement (DEFA) aims to accelerate ASEAN's transformation into a leading digital economy that fosters greater digital cooperation and paves the way for regional digital integration and inclusive growth and development.
To secure widespread support for the agreement, ASEAN has commissioned a comprehensive study to assess the progress of ASEAN and identify opportunities across various facets of the digital economy.
Drawing on the understanding of ASEAN’s strengths, ongoing efforts on the digital economy, and consultations with the private sector and ASEAN Member States, the DEFA study outlines elements that can inform the negotiation process and serve as the foundation for the launch of negotiations on a without-prejudice basis.
The nine elements identified in the study were endorsed without prejudice at the 55th ASEAN Economic Ministers meeting in Semarang, Indonesia, on 19 August 2023.
On 30 November 2023, during the 10th ASEAN Economic Community dialogue, the key provisions of DEFA were presented to an audience of 600 business representatives from the ten ASEAN Member States, multinational companies, and various international organisations and forums. Panel discussions delved into the agreement’s implications for the region and explored the business sector’s aspirations tied to the accord.
The negotiations for DEFA among ASEAN Member States formally began in December 2023. The overarching goal of ASEAN is to conclude negotiations by the end of 2025, followed by the development of a comprehensive implementation plan.
DEFA will serve as a living document capable of adapting to a constantly evolving technology and socio-economic landscape.
Boston Consulting Group. (2023). Study on DEFA. Commissioned by the ASEAN Economic Community, with support from the Australian Government through the Australia for ASEAN Futures Economic and Connectivity. https://asean.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/ASEAN-Digital-Economy-Framework-Agreement-Public-Summary_Final-published-version-1.pdf
ASEAN. (2023, December). Shaping the ASEAN Digital Economy Framework: Insights from the Business Community. ASEAN for Business Special Edition. https://asean.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/ASEAN-for-Business-Bulletin-Special-Edition.pdf
Inputs from the Digital Economy Division, ASEAN Economic Community