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The ASEAN Strategic Action Plan on Consumer Protection (ASAPCP) 2016-2025

The AMS are committed to develop a dynamic, people-centered AEC that generates prosperity for consumers and business; to build consumer confidence in fair and transparent ASEAN markets; and to achieve this by working along and together with national consumer administrations and consumer organizations.

The ASEAN Strategic Action Plan for Consumer Protection 2016-2025 (ASAPCP), based on the strategic measures in the AEC Blueprint 2025, charts the course of the ASEAN Committee on Consumer Protection (ACCP)’s work and contains the following strategic goals and initiatives:

  1. Establish a Common ASEAN Consumer Protection Framework through higher levels of consumer protection legislation, improve enforcement and monitoring of consumer protection legislations through peer reviews, and make available redress mechanisms, including alternative dispute resolution mechanisms;
  2. Promote a higher level of consumer empowerment and knowledge by addressing consumer concerns and strenghtening consumer associations as well as enhancing consumer knowledge and advocacy;
  3. Build higher consumer confidence and cross-border commercial transactions by strengthening product safety enforcement, addressing cross-border compliants through online dispute resolution, and promotion of sustainable consumption;
  4. Encourage consumer-related matters in ASEAN policies through impact assessment of consumer protection policies and development of knowledge-based policies; and
  5. Promote consumer protection measures in products and services sectors such as finance, e-commerce, air transport, energy, and telecommunications.

Under Strategic Goal 1, it is recognised that an effective consumer protection regime in ASEAN could begin by adopting and implementing a set of high-level principles on consumer protection that are adaptable to changes in the AEC. This could form the basis for modernizing consumer legislation in AMS. Enforcement and monitoring of consumer protection legislation is also being made effective through the development of capacity building tools and an ASEAN Knowledge Management System as well as through a peer review process. The use and adoption of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms (ADR) for consumer redress are also part of the initiative under this goal for an effective consumer protection regime

In Strategic Goal 2 of empowering ASEAN consumers so that markets work for the benefit of ASEAN citizens, consumers should be provided choices, accurate information, market transparency and the confidence that comes from effective protection and rights. Under this strategic goal, emphasis is given to ensuring the active participation of regional consumer forums and associations, strengthening engagement with these associations and developing online consumer knowledge and advocacy tools towards higher consumer empowerment.

To boost consumer confidence in transactions including cross-border commercial transactions, these require an appropriate regulatory framework and enforcement measures to ensure high level of confidence in domestic and cross-border transactions. Emphasis under Strategic Goal 3 will be put on product safety issues and establishing an ASEAN Regional Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Network. For cross-border transactions, this will also be addressed under the ASEAN E-Commerce Work Programme.

Integrating ASEAN consumer protection policies and priorities into other ASEAN policies and activities will remain essential over the next decade to ensure that they are mutually supportive and deliver results which are beneficial to citizens and other stakeholders. Strategic Goal 4 seeks to ensure overall consistency and complementarity between ASAPCP 2025 and other relevant ASEAN policies, instruments and actions. An impact assessment of consumer policies, development of the ASEAN Consumer Empowerment Index and exploring the interface between consumer protection and competition are part of the initiatives.

Supportive measures also complements the four strategic goals by focusing work on new and emerging consumer issues (including competition, e-commerce, financial services and air transport) and strengthening the capacity of consumer officials.