US-ABC Hosts Workshop on Recommendations and Best Practices for Cybersecurity Standards & Conformance to Support Digital Trade in ASEAN

The U.S.-ASEAN Business Council (the Council) hosted a virtual workshop on Cybersecurity Standards & Conformance to Support Digital Trade in ASEAN on May 4, 2023. The workshop aimed to provide an in-depth review of recommended cybersecurity standards and best practices to minimize technical barriers to digital trade from a cybersecurity perspective. This cooperation fulfils Strategic Thrust II, IV and VI of the ASEAN Standards and Conformance Strategic Plan 2015-2025, a subsidiary to the AEC Blueprint 2025.

The workshop was initiated as a result of the Council's engagements with the Digital Trade Standards and Conformance Working Group (DTSCWG) since 2021, where they expressed their desire to collaborate with the U.S. on digital trust, particularly on cybersecurity standards. To this end, with endorsement by the ASEAN Consultative Committee for Standards and Quality (ACCSQ) and the DTSCWG, the Council developed a Whitepaper on Cybersecurity Standards and Conformance to Support Digital Trade in ASEAN. An Executive Summary of the Whitepaper was also submitted as a key deliverable during the Council's 23rd Business Mission to the 54th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting on September 2022 in Cambodia.

Panelists shared their expertise and best practices for the ASEAN regulators and officials’ consideration when adopting and harmonizing cybersecurity standards & conformance across ASEAN Member States (AMS). The discussions also underscored the key findings outlined in the Whitepaper, as well as recommendations for future capacity building activities that may be needed to adopt, implement, and harmonize standards across AMS. Each panel was followed by an interactive discussion/Q&A session where participants raised practical questions on cybersecurity practices. The sessions convened representatives from the U.S. and ASEAN government regulators as well as leading U.S. companies and thought leaders around the trade and ICT sectors.

In his welcoming remarks, Ambassador Michael Michalak, the Council's Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director, underscored the importance of cybersecurity in digital trade and the need for cross-sectoral cooperation. “Cybersecurity standards and conformance plays an important role in addressing cyber risks as it could impede trust in the ASEAN digital trade ecosystem... We note that the landscape of digital trade and ICT issues like cybersecurity in ASEAN continues to evolve and remains challenging to navigate. Thus, collaboration with various stakeholders is key to ensure a well-rounded approach towards addressing these complex issues,” said Ambassador Michalak.

Mr. Vireak Khem, the Chair of the DTSCWG mentioned in his opening remarks that "Companies and individuals both benefit from digital technologies, but the data they store and process puts both them and their consumers at significant risk of attack by criminal and state actors, often from abroad." Therefore, he highlighted the significance of the workshop in addressing these issues through cybersecurity standards and conformance.

The Council’s Standards Sub-Committee Chair, Mr. Phil Piqueira, the Vice President for Global Standards at UL Standards & Engagement, and the Chair of American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Board of Directors, concurred that cybersecurity standards and conformance are crucial to ensure digital trade's security and trustworthiness. “The establishment of cybersecurity standards plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the digital landscape. Harmonized cybersecurity standards foster confidence among businesses and consumers and promote trust in the digital economy by facilitating cross-border trade.,” Mr. Phil said in his keynote remarks.

Joining UL Standards & Engagement, the workshop was also generously supported by Qualcomm and Cisco. US-ABC commends the ACCSQ and the DTSCWG for continuing this public-private sector cooperation with US-ABC’s members to strengthen cybersecurity and resilience through this workshop. Following this initiative, the U.S. business community looks forward to further partnering with ASEAN governments to advance the region’s digital trade ecosystem.

The workshop was attended by more than 145 participants representing all 10 ASEAN Member States from different government agencies, the ASEAN Secretariat, U.S. government officials and the U.S. business community.


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About US-ASEAN Business Council

Since 1984, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for U.S. corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's membership of nearly 170 companies generates almost US$7 trillion in revenue and employs more than 14.5 million people.  Today our members include the largest U.S. companies conducting business in ASEAN and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for more than 100 years. The Council has nine offices around the globe, in Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; Singapore; and Yangon, Myanmar.


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