Japan, ASEAN seek to facilitate trade through digital shift21/08/2023 43
Japan will work with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members to promote the digital processing of import-export activities in an effort to facilitate bilateral trade, Nikkei Asia reported.
It said that the two sides will agree on a digital roadmap as part of an action plan to be discussed at the Japan-ASEAN economic ministers' meeting to be held in Indonesia at the end of this month.
The roadmap will include targets for the volume of trade to be digitised, as well a goal of digitising customs procedures in each country.
Trade between Japan and ASEAN countries grew 17% to 240.2 billion USD in 2021, according to ASEAN data, but much of this remains bound by paper and email chains.
Each import and export transaction can involve dozens of documents, including certificates of origin and payment information. The format differs from company to company, making the process cumbersome.
Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will request 1.5 billion yen (10.3 million USD) in funding for next fiscal year's budget to support expanding such private-sector services. METI aims to subsidise manufacturers and trading companies that use these cross-border services on a trial basis.
The Japan-ASEAN roadmap will also include partnerships on extracting and recycling minerals from discarded products.
The move comes as nations seek stable sources of lithium, rare-earth elements and other critical minerals amid concerns of supply shortages. Japan has invested in recycling critical minerals extracted from discarded electronics. The Japanese government is looking to bring its homegrown recycling technology to ASEAN./.
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