Supporting the Transition to the Negative List Under ATISA
Phnom Penh, 22-23 November 2021: The ASEAN Member States (AMS) commitment to trade liberalisation has been agreed in the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement (ATISA) signed in October 2020. The ATISA establishes a framework to bolster trade in services in ASEAN and replaces the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS). One of the key forward-looking elements of ATISA is a commitment by AMS to apply a ‘negative list’ approach. The purpose of the negative list approach is to provide greater transparency on the current services regime among AMS.
This two-day workshop was co-hosted by the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) of Cambodia and ERIA under the Coordinating Committee on Services (CCS) - Japan Cooperation Programme, supported by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) of Japan, with additional support from the Australian Government. Following from the previous workshops conducted in 2018 and 2019, this workshop focused on three service sectors: transport, financial and professional services, and covered issues such as the concept of the negative list approach, transitioning from the positive list to negative list, and non-conforming measure provisions in ATISA for the transport, financial, and professional services sectors.
HE SIM Sokheng, Secretary of State, Ministry of Commerce opened the workshop on behalf of the Cambodian Government, expressing Cambodia’s commitment to transpose existing schedules of commitments under the AFAS Positive List Approach into schedules of Non-Confirming Measures Negative List Approach. He noted the importance of this workshop to leverage the Cambodian services sector in the global value chain, especially with the robust foreign trade agreement including ATISA and the upcoming Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that is expected to enter into force in 2022. Thus, he emphasised the urgency to deepen officials’ understanding of the negative list approach.
Dr Intan Murnira Ramli, Policy Fellow of ERIA, expressed her confidence that the workshop will benefit Cambodia and the importance for the line ministries to formulate their domestic policy strategies to meet Cambodia’s national interests. This workshop drew on the expertise and experience of three experts: Mr Takahisa Shimizu, Senior Legal Counsel, Federal Express Japan; Mr Yosuke Iwasaki, Associate at Sidley Austin Tokyo; and Mr Richard Braddock Founding Partner of Lexbridge Lawyers.
Around 50 officials participated in this workshop, with participants coming from the Ministry of Commerce, National Bank of Cambodia, Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Securities and Exchange Regulator of Cambodia and the Board of Engineers Agency. From ERIA, this workshop was a collaboration between the Policy Design Department and Capacity Building Programme.