Singapore ratified the ASEAN Trade In Services Agreement (ATISA) on 5th of April 2021 and it is the first of the ASEAN Member States (AMS) to do so.
When fully implemented by all ASEAN Member States, the ATISA will make up the third and final part of the “troika” of ASEAN Agreements, along with the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) and ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA). These agreements seek to improve ASEAN’s economic and sectorial integration.
The Services Sector in ASEAN
Services is an increasingly important sector in ASEAN economies, accounting for 50.6% of ASEAN’s GDP in 2019.
The ASEAN region is the Singapore’s third largest services exports destination.
As of 2020, the services sector accounts for more than 85% of resident employment in Singapore, with more than 1.89 million workers.
Benefits of ATISA
The ATISA enhances the existing ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS) reducing “beyond-the-border” barriers.
The agreement will help strengthen services-related trading arrangements among AMS and will create a more stable and predictable environment for trade in services in the region. It will increase transparency and regulatory certainty, enabling companies to obtain information about current regulations.
Thanks to the ATISA Agreement, more service sectors will be open to foreign participation and there will be an increase in allowed foreign shareholding limits, specifically:
More than 70% of the services subsectors in ASEAN markets will be fully open to Singapore-based services suppliers.
Companies can own more than 51% of foreign equity shareholding rights in committed sectors, with some sectors allowing for up to 70% of foreign equity limits.
Wide coverage of services sectors including Professional Services, Telecommunications, Financial Services, Computer and Related Services, Distribution and Logistics Services.
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