Southeast Asian countries are taking a business-friendly approach to artificial intelligence regulation in a setback to the European Union's push for globally harmonized rules that align with its own stringent framework.

Reporters reviewed a confidential draft of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations' (ASEAN) "guide to AI ethics and governance," whose content has not previously been reported.

Three sources said the draft is being circulated to technology companies for feedback and is expected to be finalized at the end of January next year, during the ASEAN digital ministers meeting. Companies that have received it include Meta, IBM and Google.