Open internet key for economy

Thursday, Jun 28, 2018 08:37

Mary Tarnowka, US Consul General in HCM City, speaks at the opening of the workshop ’Understanding Cross-Border Data Flows: E-Commerce and Beyond’ held yesterday in HCM City. — VNS Photo Bo Xuan Hiep

A free and open internet that facilitates cross-border data flows plays an essential role in promoting the digital economy of Viet Nam and the ASEAN region, speakers at a workshop held in HCM City said yesterday.

Speaking at the “Understanding Cross-Border Data Flows: E-Commerce and Beyond” workshop, US Consul General Mary Tarnowka said Viet Nam has an opportunity to be a global leader in e-commerce and smart city technology.

“But policies that limit the free flow of ideas and data threaten these goals,” she said. “The fourth industrial revolution could fundamentally change the way in which our daily lives interact with technology, and some of these changes are already happening.”

Through advances ranging from biotechnology to self-driving cars, the evolving technology industry promises to find solutions for real problems and improve the quality of life for people around the world, she said.

“Regardless of where you live, from the middle of Silicon Valley to Southeast Asia, we all feel the impact of creative disruption,” she said.

She said it was important to prepare for the technological revolution so that “we can shape this world into the one we want to inhabit”.

“The rapid pace of technological change means we cannot be complacent. International cooperation will be critical as we adapt to the new norms of trade and investment,” she said.

HCM City is a great example of Viet Nam’s dynamic transformation, with thousands of young entrepreneurs, but enabling the entrepreneurs to create value and digital solutions requires a strong vision and the right implementation.

“For example, in the digital economy, the inability to move data freely places unnecessary barriers and obstacles on future investment in Viet Nam,” she said. “It is an opportunity to demonstrate that enabling cross-border data flows can positively contribute to all of our growth and shared prosperity.”

Peter Thorin, director of US-ASEAN Connect at the US Mission to ASEAN, said Viet Nam’s eagerness to join the global supply chain of the digital economy and the strength of HCM City’s private sector made it an ideal location for the event.

Jane Bocklage, deputy representative at the US Mission to ASEAN, said in today’s interconnected world, e-commerce plays a role not only in domestic and cross-border trade, but also facilitates foreign investment and vibrant services for consumers.

Speaking at the event, Dr Peter Lovelock, a digital economy expert from Singapore, described regional trends in the digital economy and their implications for Viet Nam.

He spoke about the advantages of the digital economy to citizens and companies, highlighting how cross-border data flows can develop the economy.

Other speakers included representatives from the private sector in Viet Nam, academic institutions, and local and multinational firms who rely on the digital economy for growth and economic opportunity.

The ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025, adopted by the ASEAN Leaders at the 27th ASEAN Summit in 2015, recognises e-commerce as a vital element in the regional and global economy.

The workshop was jointly organised by the US-ASEAN Connect, the US Consulate in HCM City, the US-ASEAN Business Council, and the USAID’s ASEAN Connectivity through Trade and Investment Project.

The forum was part of the Digital Economy Series organised in the ASEAN region by US-ASEAN Connect, which sponsors regional events to promote best practices on policy and regulatory ecosystems to foster a thriving digital economy. — VNS

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