ERIA's Identity Card

  • Developing analysis, research and policy advice to support economic integration across ASEAN and East Asia
  • Narrowing development gaps and promoting community building across ASEAN and East Asia
  • Analysing emerging trends related to the digital economy, including digital trade, global value chains and e-commerce
  • Conducting capacity building to support policy development and practical preparedness around e-commerce and digital trade, including the recently signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
  • Understanding the contribution that women, and in particular women entrepreneurs, play in the digital economy and the post-pandemic recovery

The Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East-Asia (ERIA), an international organisation established by 16 East Asia Summit countries, conducts research, policy analysis and advice and capacity building to support the process of economic integration across ASEAN and East Asia and wider regional community building. ERIA investigates, among others, issues related to innovation and technology in development, such as e-commerce, digital marketplace, ICT advancements, renewable energy, the circular economy, cyber security, and interactive learning.

ERIA's Exclusive Interview for eTrade for all

June 29, 2021
Would you like to tell us how ERIA’s work and activities specifically touch upon e-commerce and the digital economy?


Since its establishment, ERIA has been conducting analysis and research to support trade integration across ASEAN and East Asia, a key pillar of the ASEAN Economic Community. Because digital technologies are now pervasive in our economies and societies, we regularly look at trends and develop policy advice on how digital technologies are affecting trade, with a specific focus on e-commerce. Especially now, during the pandemic, e-commerce is booming in South East Asia and has been key to connect local MSMEs to global digital marketplaces. We also look, more broadly, at how digital technologies are shaping global value chains (GVCs) and how the digital economy is growing and accelerating across ASEAN and East Asia.

What type of support do you offer on policy and capacity building on trade, including digital trade and e-commerce, across ASEAN and East Asia?


ERIA’s mandate is to provide policy advice and support to policy makers across ASEAN and East Asia. We also provide capacity building to developing countries in the region. We have been researching and analysing various issues related to trade in general (including our work on NTMs together with UNCTAD) and digital trade and e-commerce in particular, for instance with a focus on challenges and opportunities for ASEAN MSMEs. We work closely with national and regional policy makers on digital trade related issues, like the ASEAN Secretariat or the country hosting the ASEAN Chairmanship, like Brunei Darussalam in 2021. ERIA has also been very active supporting ASEAN policy makers, including through capacity building, during the recently concluded negotiation of the RCEP trade agreement and we look forward to supporting its implementation.

According to your organization, what are the key challenges that developing countries will have to tackle in order to fully reap the benefits of e-commerce for sustainable development?


Each developing country has its own specific characteristics, especially across ASEAN which is a very diverse region economically and culturally. E-commerce represents a tremendous opportunity for many entrepreneurs (in particular MSMEs, which represent the vast majority of ASEAN firms) to grow and scale-up. ASEAN is a very dynamic region, one of the fastest growing digital economies in the world. However, many challenges still remain, including connectivity (think for instance about rural areas with limited access to digital infrastructure) and, very importantly, skills enabling MSMEs to go online (some groups of individuals such as the elderly, women and people in rural area are particularly in need of digital-related skills). Another critical factor for ASEAN countries is the development of frameworks to facilitate cross-border data flows; these should be accompanied by sound cybersecurity and personal data protection standards. As e-commerce expands across the region, we expect these issues to become increasingly relevant.

What prompted ERIA to join a multi-stakeholder partnership such as “eTrade for all” and what are your expectations out of it?


Given our longstanding analytical contribution and policy support in the area of digital trade and e-commerce to countries across ASEAN and East Asia, we believe we have a lot to contribute to the global discussion about the digital economy and digital trade, such as the one enabled through eTrade for all. We look forward to contributing to the platform by bringing our knowledge and experience and to learning from peers across different regions.

Is there something else you would like to share with the eTrade for all community?


ERIA is honoured to be part of the eTrade for all community and we look forward to connecting with many different stakeholders across the globe sharing the same interests as ours towards digital trade and sustainable development.