Figure 1. Opening Speech from Izuru Kobayashi as the COO, Director General of Administration and Personnel Department of ERIA.

To promote the updated version of the “Economic Outlook for Southeast Asia, China and India 2018”, OECD collaborated with ERIA as the regional partner held a Seminar on July 23, 2018, at ERIA Office, Jakarta. The last version of the Outlook was launched last year at the ASEAN Business  & Investment Summit in Manila, while the updated one will be launched in July 2018. While the previous outlook focused on the digitization and its impact on an ASEAN, China and India’s economic growth, the updated version will focus on emerging Asia in the era of cross-border e-commerce. The moderator, Lurong Chen (Economist of ERIA), introduced 2 speakers – Kensuke Tanaka, Head of Asia Desk of OECD Development Center and Prasiwi Ibrahim, Economist of OECD Development Center – as well as 2 discussants of the event – Anita Prakash, Director General of Policy Design of ERIA and Masahito Ambashi, Economist of ERIA.

The updated report showed a positive trend for the ASEAN countries economic growth in 2017. However, the prediction for 2018 and 2019 is slightly weaker and even decreases in some countries such as Malaysia. Indonesia is predicted to have an improved GDP growth from 5.1% in 2017, to 5.3% and 5.4% in 2018 and 2019, respectively. It is mainly because of the upcoming Indonesian event such as Asian Games 2018 and the presidential election in 2019. Although in general there are some concerns, such as inflation and currency depreciation, the economics of the Emerging Asian will remain stable in 2019. Moreover, the e-commerce growth in Asia, especially China has been the fastest in the world. Nowadays, e-commerce has been one of the most important economic tools in interacting as well as transacting between government, businesses, and consumers. Although the percentage of e-commerce is smaller than the traditional market, it is predicted that the revenue growth will be doubled in 2021. In terms of the internet user population, it varies in each country. For example, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia are the three countries with the highest percentage of internet users in the region. While China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand are having relatively high rates of e-commerce technology for business purposes. The rise of the e-commerce era should be followed by increases in skilled workers and knowledgeable consumers. The improvement of human resources could be started by providing digital literacy courses in educational curricula, sufficient internet equipment, and related training programs. Data from OECD in 2012 showed that only Singapore, Hong Kong, and Macau had almost 100 percent of students with at least one computer at home, while Indonesia has only about 26 percent. Furthermore, the digital security and consumer protection should be anticipated by providing consumer-protection enforcement agencies, particularly on matters related to cross-border fraudulent and deceptive commercial practice. Harmonization of regulatory frameworks and the establishment of rules are needed to ensure free data flows, fair play, competition, and security.

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