ASEAN companies urged to leverage on intra-regional e-commerce trade

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 14): ASEAN businesses, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), should focus on intra-regional e-commerce trade to ensure sustainable growth during the COVID-19 pandemic period.

FedEx Express Asia Pacific, Middle-East and Africa president Kawal Preet said ASEAN companies should build their e-commerce platform at a faster pace and diversify their businesses towards innovation and automation, especially in the current volatile business environment.

“ASEAN has an overwhelming opportunity in the booming e-commerce market to fill leadership and innovation.

“Singapore is already using digital technology to simplify trade and finance. ASEAN is also pushing for the ASEAN Single Window (regional trade facilitation) and people-less trade to facilitate e-commerce,” she said during a CIMB ASEAN Research Institute (CARI) briefing here today.

“However, these must continue at a faster pace. Such innovations are vital to support SMEs,” she added.

Kawal was one of the speakers in the session titled “COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan Series, How Can ASEAN Bounce Back: A US Perspective”.

She said the pandemic has been a major disruptor for the world, not just economically; it also changed the way companies manage supply change and move people and goods around the world and across the region.

“The blueprint of ‘what next’ must include a focus on intra-Asia trade, going all-in on cross-border e-commerce, and ensuring SMEs recover and become more competitive post-COVID.

“Underpinning all of that, we must have the right business capabilities to easily handle increased in-trade flows and e-commerce,” she added.