For the ASEAN Member States (AMSs) to enjoy healthy economic growth, access to the regional consumer market of 600 million people is important. The economic convergence of AMSs necessitates that member countries work together to ensure that the benefits of convergence flow on to consumers as it does to businesses. Regional economic arrangements such as ‘growth triangles’ will impact on consumers in areas like access to products and services and involve issues of quality and costs, among other things.
Consumer protection is therefore, a priority agenda of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) that calls for equal commitment of stakeholders to achieve an equitable single market. Consumers, regulators and businesses need to be further equipped to respond to the impact of globalisation such as greater cross-border purchasing, new market trends, varying consumer demographics and increased use of the internet. The digital revolution is transforming the world in which consumers live.
This Policy Brief highlights the relevant supports and actions required to achieve the desired state of consumer protection in order to foster confidence in the ASEAN marketplace. Consumers who are well protected will have confidence in the business and the economy as they are assured of getting a fair deal and will have access to redress where necessary.
The ASEAN Australia Development Cooperation Program Phase II (AADCP II) commissioned the study on “Roadmapping Capacity Building Needs in Consumer Protection in ASEAN” with the primary objectives as follows:
- To develop a capacity building roadmap for consumer protection in AMSs and in the ASEAN region, particularly involving the six selected core consumer areas – product safety and labelling, consumer credit and banking, phone & internet services and e-commerce, environment, health care services and professional services.
- To propose an implementation plan and assessment option for the capacity building roadmap that is applicable nationally and regionally.