Selangor Journal

OECD calls for regional cooperation to lift e-commerce barriers in Asean

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 5 — Regional cooperation will continue to play a key role to support the development of the e-commerce industry in Asean, which has rapidly grown during the Covid-19 pandemic, said the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

In its Competitive Neutrality Reviews: Small-Package Delivery Services in Malaysia report released today, OECD recommended that barriers to logistics services such as the expensive and unreliable deliveries, at least in some Asean member states, must be lifted in view of further potential growth in e-commerce.

“This affects the development of e-commerce, both domestically and internationally.

“Lifting such barriers would support the development of e-commerce and provide consumers with more choice and better prices,” said the international organisation that works to build better policies for better lives.

OECD said the Covid-19 crisis would lead to long-term changes and likely expedite the shift to e-commerce, especially for consumers that were until recently more resistant to online retail channels.

“Brick-and-mortar businesses will also evolve offering services beyond retail, including last-mile deliveries,” it said, adding that digital transformation is occurring rapidly in Asean.

OECD said Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar recorded an annual growth of approximately 20 per cent in e-commerce users in April 2020 compared to the previous year.

As for the value of online sales, it said high annual growth rates of above 15 per cent were recorded in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Malaysia.

OECD also said Asean has put in place a framework for Covid-19 responses across multiple sectors.

Elaborating further, it said that the ministers responsible for trade in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) economies had also pledged to work together to mitigate the impact of Covid-19, committing to facilitate the flow of goods across borders as well as to strengthen e-commerce and related services, among others.

E-commerce is expected to have grown at a double-digit pace in 2021 with a compound annual growth rate of 19 per cent since 2015, it said.

In Malaysia, e-commerce revenue was estimated at US$3.3 billion (RM13.8 billion) in 2019, and had been projected to grow at about 29 per cent in 2020.

The OECD assessment report was conducted in consultation with the Malaysian authorities and with local stakeholders, with the support of the Asean Secretariat and the Asean Economic Reform Programme under the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom.

The report offers policy recommendations that can help the Malaysian government address structural and regulatory shortcomings in the small-package delivery services sector.

— Bernama

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