Protecting consumer rights in ASEAN
Consumer Protection in ASEAN II (PROTECT II)
German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
2023 to 2025
Products and expertise
Economic development and employment
The ASEAN region is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world with over 680 million consumers. The digital economy plays a key role in the region’s post-Covid-19 economic recovery. However, as digitalisation increases, consumers are faced with emerging risks such as unfair contract terms and “dark” patterns on online platforms. To ensure that consumer rights are adhered to, new approaches to regulation and law enforcement are required. These need to be more effective in protecting vulnerable consumers, for example, low-income consumers, women, the elderly and consumers with disabilities.
Based on activities and outcomes of the predecessor project, there are still multiple gaps in legislation and in the capabilities of consumer protection authorities in some Member States. These slow down consumer-friendly economic reforms. The ASEAN Consumer Empowerment Index 2020 showed that the degree of consumer empowerment across the region is only moderate. This means consumers are not adequately informed about their rights, nor are they able to use the respective complaint mechanisms. Thus, they lack options and means to enforce redress if they suffer losses.
Consumer protection systems in ASEAN Member States are improving in the areas of regional and online trade.
The project applies a three-tier approach by:
- facilitating regional exchange and cooperation within the ASEAN Committee on Consumer Protection (ACCP),
- modernising consumer-protection policies in selected ASEAN Member States (Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam).
- fostering an innovative and “pro-consumer” culture by engaging public and private actors and civil society
Project activities are primarily guided by the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan on Consumer Protection (ASAPCP) 2025, with a view towards bridging the implementation gap between regional initiatives and national reforms.
Last update: July 2023