Training on Digital Economy Framework Agreement (DEFA) Negotiation Preparation for Cambodian Negotiators

Phnom Penh, 15 November 2023 – Together with the Ministry of Commerce (MoC), ARISE Plus Cambodia concluded the second part of the ASEAN Digital Economy Framework Agreement (DEFA) training for the MoC officials on 10 November 2023.

The much-anticipated DEFA negotiations were launched by the ASEAN Economic Ministers during the 23rd ASEAN Economic Community Council (AECC) meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, in September 2023.  

According to the ASEAN Secretariat, DEFA would be the world's first regional digital economy agreement to enable and protect a digital trade ecosystem that aims to enhance ASEAN's digital transformation and make it a leading digitally connected community and economic bloc.

The ASEAN DEFA Negotiating Committee (NC), chaired by Thailand, consists of lead negotiators from the 10 ASEAN Member States. The first meeting is planned for late 2023, followed by subsequent meetings in 2024 and 2025. The NC is aiming to finalize ASEAN DEFA negotiations by 2025. Read more about DEFA launching:

In preparation for the Cambodian negotiators to get ready for their role in the up-coming negotiations, ARISE Plus Cambodia is collaborating with the MoC to conduct three-part DEFA training. The first two parts of the trainings were conducted on 4-5 September 2023 to train the MoC officials as the secretariat to introduce the current status quo on prior acquired commitments made at ASEAN and bilateral levels, and assess how much progress could be made in topics of interest to Cambodia. The second part of the training was conducted on 8 and 10 November 2023 for the negotiation team which consisted of the MoC and all relevant line ministries.

The training will serve to: 1) introduce Cambodia’s stance on commitments made in different forums and ongoing e-commerce negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) under the Joint Statement Initiative (JSI) and review previous commitments made at ASEAN and bilateral levels; 2) evaluate progress in Cambodia's areas of interest; 3) identify areas where laws and regulations need to be updated for DEFA compliance, and; 4) addressing topics without existing dedicated laws or regulations.                                                                       

The first part of the training was led by Mr. Danny Burrows, trade experts and the second part of the training was led by trade experts, Mr. Sven Callebaut, and covered various recurrent topics of DEFA negotiation. The trainings were joined by 12 participants from the relevant MoC departments based on the topics listed for the negotiation. The third part is planned to conduct by end of this year or early next year depending on the official formulation of the negotiators team.

Co-funded by the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the ARISE Plus Cambodia supports this initiative as part of its key support to the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia in strengthening institutional capacities and improving regulatory practices with a view to achieving a more transparent, predictable and competitive trade environment.


For more information, please contact:

Ms. Kamrang Ke

Advisor –Trade-related Coordination and Transparency



November 15, 2023


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