GST on E-Commerce and Digital Trade

Dr. Deborah Elms, Executive Director, Asian Trade Centre and Kristen Foster, Head of Government Relations - Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and Japan, eBay Singapore Services Pte Ltd

Venue : VISA Boardroom (AmCham Office, 1 Scotts Road, #23-03 Shaw Centre)

Date : October 04, 2017

Time : 11:45 AM - 1:30 PM

Price : $15.00

Please add to calendar before registering for the event



Event Closed for Registration

Hosted by the Financial Services, Government & Regional Affairs and Information, Communications, and Technology Committees

E-commerce is growing in markets across Southeast Asia.
  According to a report by AT Kearney, the e-commerce market in ASEAN is slated to contribute US$20 billion to the regional economy.  Online sales in ASEAN however lag behind markets in the United States and China.  Less than 1% of retail sales in ASEAN are conducted online.  While this number is growing, the ASEAN region still lags significantly behind the USA and China where online sales are 8% and 9% respectively.  Many governments around the region have recently launched e-commerce roadmaps and other initiatives to help stimulate e-commerce in support of small and medium businesses in their home countries.  These plans aim to enable small businesses to grow their domestic and cross-border businesses and expand the overall ASEAN economy.

Despite all of the positive energy and initiatives that are being undertaken in the ASEAN region, policy makers should take a measured approach at any regulatory intervention in order not to disrupt the growth tangent that e-commerce is currently taking.
  According to a recent study by McKinsey and Company, digital trade and the value of cross-border data flows is now a larger component of the global economy than traditional trade and services.  One key policy that many regulators in the region are examining is the indirect taxation of digital trade and low-value goods.  Markets such as Australia, Thailand, Indonesia and most recently Singapore have seen regulators evaluating the imposition of GST on low value goods and digital trade for overseas vendors.  If governments seek to drive the de minimis thresholds to zero, this will hurt small businesses, innovation and consumers.

Governments should take a measured approach to implementing GST on low-value cross border goods to ensure they do not impede the growth in the e-commerce sector.
  Governments should look to implement these types of tax regimes in step with other jurisdictions and the OECD, which are likely to take place in 2021.  ASEAN markets should not go it alone and instead contribute to the development of a carefully drafted, well-founded and enforceable multilateral global arrangement on cross border sales taxation issues.

Today we are here to officially launch a paper that was recently prepared by the Asian Trade Centre – Should E-Commerce and Digital Trade Be Taxed?  
The Asian Trade Centre is a Singapore-based organization that has expertise in global trade and works with governments and private sector organizations across Asia.

This session will highlight some of the key findings and share some key recommendations as outlined in the paper.
   Speakers include Dr. Deborah Elms, Executive Director, Asian Trade Centre, Singapore and Kristen Foster, Head of Government Relations for eBay, Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and Japan.

About the Speakers

Dr. Deborah Elms
Executive Director
Asian Trade Centre

Dr. Deborah Elms is the Founder and Executive Director of the Asian Trade Centre (ATC). She is also a senior fellow in the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Trade Academy.

Previously, Dr. Elms was head of the Temasek Foundation Centre for Trade & Negotiations (TFCTN) and Senior Fellow of International Political Economy at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Her research interests are negotiations and decision- making, and her current research involves the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) negotiations and global value chains.

She has provided consulting on a range of trade issues to governments including the United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Taiwan, and Singapore.

Dr. Elms received a PhD in political science from the University of Washington, a MA in international relations from the University of Southern California, and bachelor’s degrees from Boston University.
  Dr Elms publishes the Talking Trade Blog.

Kristen Foster
Head of Government Relations - Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and Japan
eBay Singapore Services Pte Ltd

Kristen brings almost 20 years of international & domestic corporate & government affairs experience to eBay.

Kristen is currently on eBay's AUNZ Leadership team & Asia Pacific GR management team, leading eBay's GR business function in Australasia, Japan & in South East Asia & involved in India. Kristen liaises closely with the US, EU & APAC teams. Kristen worked across eBay Inc's major businesses (eBay & PayPal), prior to the separation & creation of two independent companies, in July 2015.

Before joining eBay Inc, Kristen held senior business leader positions at Visa Inc. & Fortune500 company, Genworth (formerly a company of GE).
   Kristen has a Bachelor of Arts (Communication), Master of Arts (Public Policy) Hons (University of Sydney) & Master of International Relations (The University of New South Wales). Kristen has completed Executive Programs at Harvard University’s JFK School of Government in Boston U.S. & INSEAD.

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