ASEAN-Australia Digital Trade Standards (DTS) Initiative


The ASEAN-Australia DTS Initiative[1] is a leader’s level Initiative, announced at the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Sydney in March 2018. It was established to support the greater implementation of digital trade standards by ASEAN Member States (AMS), to increase digital trade for regional prosperity and security.

There is significant opportunity for harnessing national digitalisation efforts to further increase, accelerate and amplify overall trade in the region. ASEAN recognises this opportunity, and the critical role those digital technologies will play in this process. Various ASEAN masterplans and frameworks have identified facilitating seamless, digitally enabled trade flows. The following plans all aim to enable technology-focused economic growth, and support ASEAN businesses in accessing regional and global value chains, and the DTS Initiative has been designed to support these plans:

The ASEAN-AU DTS Initiative generally works through a capacity building approach, reports and research which will roll out through 2020 to 2024.

The DTS Initiative also seeks to capture ASEAN and Australia’s strategies to advance gender equality, women’s empowerment and disability and social inclusion—in line with ASEAN and Australia’s values, strategies, and commitments. Adopting a gender and persons with disability inclusive approach in the delivery of all proposed activities, will ensure that ASEAN and Australia’s contribution to regional prosperity and security is equitable and inclusive. This includes actively engaging representative groups such as Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPD) as leaders and experts throughout design, consultation, implementation, and review stages.

The ASEAN-AU DTS Initiative is supported by Australian Government, in consultation with ASEAN and implemented by three implementing partners, including the Australia APEC Study Centre at RMIT University, Access Partnership, and Standards Australia to support the delivery of the DTS Initiative.

[1] Refer Joint Statement of the ASEAN-Australia Specific Summit here.

The DTS Initiative is focused on three key areas


Development of the evidence based, focusing on key areas of digital trade growth and inclusion, and relevant digital trade standards to ensure ASEAN and AMS are able to channel resources and coordinating efforts effectively.

Capacity Building

Support policymakers, regulators, standards bodies by building awareness and understanding of digital trade developments and requirements, and how to effectively leverage DTS.

Engagement and Awareness

Develop communication materials and repository that ensure policymakers, regulators, standards bodies, and businesses can access resources for continued learning, increased awareness, and buy-in of the fundamental importance of DTS.

The DTS Initiative between Australia and ASEAN is supported by implementing partners including the Australia APEC Study Centre at RMIT University, Access Partnership, and Standards Australia to support the delivery of the DTS Initiative.