KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The new ASEAN framework on e-commerce, currently being implemented by the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on E-commerce, is expected to open up more opportunities for micro and small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and facilitate their business expansion in the region.

Ravindran Palaniappan, Chair of the working group of trade in services of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), said the committee, established last year, was working to develop a single framework on e-commerce to improve ease of doing business for entrepreneurs across the region.

ASEAN consists of 10 different countries and (currently) we have 10 different e-commerce or digital economy laws across the region. Since last year, the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on E-commerce has been working to come out with a new framework agreement on e-commerce.

I think they are almost there, they are working towards finalising it (the framework). Once this e-commerce law comes into force, it will open new opportunities for not only our entrepreneurs, but also entrepreneurs in the region, he told reporters on the sidelines of the Digitalisation and E-commerce Ecosystem Forum here today.

Earlier, Ravindran had officiated the one-day forum, representing the Secretary-General of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, J. Jayasiri.

Ravindran said that e-commerce and digitalisation was the new wave in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and today’s forum augured well in creating greater awareness among the MSMEs on the emerging industry.

We need to get more MSMEs into the digital and e-commerce platform. That is why our Prime Minister ( Najib Tun Razak) has announced several initiatives for this group in the 2018 Budget.

We already have the Digital Free Trade Zone and we are gathering as many MSMEs to be on the platform. For them to be on it, they need to be well prepared in terms of knowledge and right infrastructure, he said, adding those which were not well prepared would not succeed and would not be able to compete on the digital and e-commerce platform.

We can’t just simply put someone (MSMEs) onto the platform and expect them to perform. Once they get onto the platform, there will be huge opportunities awaiting them in terms of expanding their businesses regionally and globally, he added.