The ASEAN Agreement on Trade in Services will further open up trade in services

Singapore approved the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement (ATISA) on April 5, and was the first ASEAN member country to approve the agreement.


Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry stated that Singapore’s rights and obligations under this agreement will begin today, and other member states are continuing their own internal procedures for approval within this year.


Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Chen Zhensheng said: “Singapore’s approval of this agreement reflects our firm commitment to ASEAN and creates a more transparent, stable and predictable environment for regional service trade.” The agreement will help strengthen the membership of the member states. Inter-service-related trade arrangements have enabled ASEAN enterprises to enjoy more market opportunities and reduced regulatory barriers with differential treatment.


Chen Zhensheng said that he will continue to encourage other member states to speed up the ratification of the agreement so that enterprises can benefit as soon as possible.


The ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement was signed in 2019. It is based on the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS) and further strengthens cooperation. It provides a legally binding guarantee and is by far the most extensive preferential market access to the ASEAN service market, even surpassing existing ASEAN agreements, including the recently signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP). This is because more service industries are open to foreign countries, and foreign shareholding limits are allowed to increase. For example, more than 70% of the service industry subsectors in the ASEAN market will be fully open to service providers in Singapore, increasing from 109 subsectors to 128.


This agreement will benefit Singapore’s businesses and service providers in various fields, and increase their confidence, including professional services, telecommunications, financial services, computer and related services, as well as distribution and logistics services. This will lay the foundation for the continued growth of service trade in the ASEAN region.


The total value of   ASEAN trade in services in 2019 exceeded US$844.6 billion. ASEAN is Singapore’s third largest service trading partner, accounting for 10.7% of total service exports in 2019.


Reported   from Singapore’s “Lianhe Zaobao” report on April 6



Source: China – ASEAN Business Council