BANGKOK: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is working towards facilitating a regional payments system, as the digital economy becomes the next key driver for economic growth.
“As a digital economy becomes more important, more rampant, I think there is more interest in having a payment gateway,” Secretary-General of ASEAN Lim Jock Hoi told CNA at the sidelines of the 3rd ASEAN Media Forum in Bangkok on Monday (Jul 29).
Mr Lim was responding to questions from CNA on comments made by Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat over the weekend about ASEAN states working together to facilitate a payment system for regional trade.
Mr Lim said that finance ministers of the 10-member bloc and central banks were working towards such a system, but that certain difficulties still needed to be worked through.
“I cannot tell you when (we can expect such a system), but we are working towards that,” said Mr Lim.
“Each country has its own systems and regulations. We need to make sure the regulations are similar,” he added.
The media forum was attended by more than 20 media professionals from the 10-member countries. The topics discussed included ASEAN’s response to the China-US trade spat and current global challenges as well as digital transformation and ASEAN economic integration.
During a dialogue session earlier in the day, Mr Lim expressed confidence in the health of ASEAN nations, saying that their economic performances “are quite positive” in spite of the current challenges.
“Trade is still positive though it is going a bit down. Investment is still coming in from within the ASEAN member states as well as from foreign direct investment. These are still very positive trajectory,” said Mr Lim.
“Coupled with digital economy which we are promoting very highly in ASEAN. This will further spur the next driver for economic growth in ASEAN,” he added.