28 April 2021
On 5 April 2021, the Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore (“MTI”) announced that Singapore has ratified the Association of South-east Asian Nations (“ASEAN”) Trade in Services Agreement (“ATISA”). The ATISA was signed in 2019. Singapore is the first of the ASEAN Member States (“AMS”) to ratify the agreement and has notified the ASEAN Secretary-General.
Singapore’s rights and obligations under the ATISA commenced upon ratification.
The ATISA builds upon and enhances the existing ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services by further reducing “beyond-the-border” barriers. It provides a legally binding guarantee of the widest preferential services market access into ASEAN markets to-date, beyond ASEAN’s existing agreements, including the recently signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which Singapore has also ratified.
The ATISA will benefit and improve business confidence for businesses and service suppliers in all sectors, including professional services, telecommunications, financial services, computer and related services, and distribution and logistics services. It will lay the ground for continued growth in the ASEAN region’s services trade which was worth more than US$ 844.6 billion in 2019.