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GSMA and AIC Encourage Greater Engagement among RCEP Countries to Enable a Truly Pan-Asian Digital Economy

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The GSMA and the Asia Internet Coalition (AIC) today urged the participating countries of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) for greater commitment and engagement. As representatives of leading companies that operate in the region and promote the digital economy, the GSMA and AIC believe that the RCEP can play a critical role in enabling positive policy development in the digital economy and reducing or removing barriers and restrictions that suppress digital trade and investments in the Asia Pacific region.

“The RCEP will play an increasingly important role in the region’s digital future, as it involves all of the largest Asian economies, including both ASEAN and non-ASEAN nations,” said Alasdair Grant, head of Asia Pacific for the GSMA. “This is even more critical in light of the stalled talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as well as the growing need for innovation, productivity, economic growth and job creation in today’s digital economies. Services and trade in services are growing rapidly in Asia Pacific. This is a vital source of growth for countries in a changing economic environment.”

"RCEP has the opportunity to set the trade rules that are necessary to ensure a growing digital economy across Asia - the protection of cross-border data flows is a critical part of this," said Jeff Paine, Managing Director of AIC.

In particular, the GSMA and AIC strongly support an RCEP outcome that drives progress toward the following objectives:

  1. Stronger economic cooperation, through aligned approaches to enact progressive policies and regulations that will facilitate the growth of the broad digital economy, particularly critical sectors such as telecommunications, e-commerce and digital services. This would include elimination of restrictions to digital trade such as barriers to cross-border data flows and requirements to localise data;
  2. Greater investment through removal or reduction of restrictions and creation of strong investment protection mechanisms including minimum standards of treatment, and compensation in cases of expropriation. The opportunities for partnerships between international and domestic players, as well as the development and growth of local players, are greatest where the regulatory environment supports investment by both international and domestic organisations.
  3. Emergence of a regional digital economic architecture, through facilitation, promotion and enablement of digital economy access and infrastructure across the region.

The GSMA and AIC encourage participating countries to ensure an outcome that contains explicit provisions to secure the above, which will enable the RCEP to create a trade environment fit for the digital age as well as develop future economic competitiveness of its member countries.

About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Mobile World Congress Americas and the Mobile 360 Series of conferences.

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at www.gsma.com. Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.

About the AIC
The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC) is an industry association made up of leading internet and technology companies. The AIC seeks to promote the understanding and resolution of Internet policy issues in the Asia Pacific region. For information, please visit https://www.aicasia.org/.

Contact information

Media:
For the GSMA
Ava Lau, +852 2533 9928
ALau@webershandwick.com
or
GSMA Press Office
pressoffice@gsma.com
or
For the AIC
Sophie Vogel, +65 8123 5515
Sophie.vogel@teneostrategy.com

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