Singapore Becomes First Member To Ratify ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement

Singapore Becomes First Member To Ratify ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement

Singapore ratified on 5 April the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement (ATISA), becoming the first of the ASEAN Member States to do so.

The ASEAN bloc concluded the negotiations on the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement in 2018 at the 17th ASEAN Economic Community Council Meeting.

Singapore, which signed the ATISA on the sidelines of the 25th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat in 2019, has since completed its domestic procedures to ratify the Agreement and has notified the ASEAN Secretary General of the ratification, Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a statement.

Singapore’s rights and obligations under the agreement began on 5 April, while the other ASEAN member states move on with their internal procedures to ratify the ATISA within the year, Singapore said.

“Singapore’s ratification of the ATISA reflects our strong commitment to ASEAN and creates a more transparent, stable and predictable environment for trade in services in the region. The Agreement will help strengthen services-related trading arrangements among AMS, enabling ASEAN businesses to enjoy increased market access and reduced discriminatory regulatory barriers,” Singapore’s  Minister for Trade and Industry, Chan Chun Sing, said.

“We will continue to encourage other AMS to expedite their ratification of the Agreement so that businesses can reap the benefits sooner,” Mr Chan added.

The agreement is set to 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. Under the ATISA, more than 70 percent of the services subsectors in ASEAN markets will be fully open to Singapore-based services suppliers.

The agreement will lay the ground for continued growth in ASEAN’s services trade which was worth more than US$844.6 billion in 2019. The importance of services in economies in the region has grown in recent years and accounted for 50.6 percent of ASEAN’s gross domestic product (GDP) as of 2019, as per ASEAN estimates.