ASEAN Trade In Services Agreement (ATISA)

10/09/2019    80

On April 23, Economic Ministers of the seven ASEAN member countries signed the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement (ATISA) within the 25th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting (AEM Retreat) held in two days April 22-23 in Phuket, Thailand. After that, ATISA was signed by Myanmar (August 3, 2019) and Vietnam (September 2019) respectively. The remaining country will sign the Agreement after completing the internal evaluation process.

ATISA is considered as a new step in the integration process of ASEAN services. Upon coming into force, this Agreement will replace the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS) that took effect since 1995, and deepen the integration and liberalization of the services sectors in the region. ATISA is expected to promote trade in services in the region and improve the competitiveness of enterprises exporting services in ASEAN.

As a  principle, ATISA establishes frameworks to implement liberalization commitments from AFAS, reduce discriminatory barriers between service providers, and lay a solid legal foundation and a more transparent mechanism for trade in services in the region.

ATISA applies a "negative list " approach. Under the negative list approach, all services sectors are considered as liberalised by default. A State would then list only those sectors/sub-sectors in which it has taken measures that it considers to run counter to the obligations of the agreement (also known as non-conforming measures). This contrasts with the positive list approach, in which a State has to explicitly list the sectors/sub-sectors in which it intends to liberalise.

ATISA will come into force from October 20, 2019, that is, after 180 days from the signing date.

The Factsheet on Conclusion of ATISA is attached below.