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Vietnam ratifies ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement

The Government’s recently issued Resolution No 131/NQ-CP dated October 18th, 2021 ratifying the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement (“ATISA”).

The ATISA is considered a new step in ASEAN’s integration process of services. Upon coming into force, this Agreement will replace the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (“AFAS”) that took effect in 1995, with major changes. In principle, ATISA shall establish legal frameworks to implement market opening commitments from AFAS, reduce discriminatory barriers among service providers, and create a solid legal foundation and a more transparent mechanism for trade in services in the ASEAN region.

Regarding the opening of service markets, the ATISA applies a “negative list” approach under which all services are considered as liberalized by defaults. 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).

There are three sectoral annexes under ATISA, namely Annex on Financial Services, Annex on Telecommunication Services, and Annex on Air Transport Ancillary Services. These annexes include sector-specific obligations intended for deeper commitments and strengthened regulatory cooperation.

This Agreement also has Appendices I and II including the List of Non-conforming Measures of each member country, which will be determined by each member country and submitted to the ASEAN Secretariat within 5 years, 7 years, 13 years depending on the country from the effective date.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment shall be responsible and coordinate with relevant ministries and agencies in organizing the implementation of the agreement.

Briefed by: LLVN

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