Cambodian Parliament Ratifies ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement

This photo taken on May 1, 2023 shows containers stacking up at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Photo by Ly Lay/Xinhua

PHNOM PENH -- The National Assembly of Cambodia on Tuesday ratified the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement (ATISA) to boost trade and investment in the area of services.

Some 98 lawmakers in attendance unanimously ratified the pact, which was signed by ASEAN economic ministers in Jakarta, Indonesia in October 2020.

ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak said the ATISA aims to strengthen economic linkages and provide greater opportunities for economic development in the ASEAN Economic Community.

"It will reduce barriers to trade and investment in services and create a predictable business environment," he told the parliament. "Also, it will narrow development gaps among ASEAN member states to achieve a more equitable, balanced and sustainable socioeconomic development."

Nin Saphon, chairwoman of the National Assembly's Commission on Public Works, Industry, Mines, Energy, Commerce, and Land Management, said the ATISA will underpin greater inclusion of small and medium enterprises in trade and investment activities and promote regulatory and human resource development.

"It will deepen the integration of the services sector and create a more liberal, stable and predictable environment for service suppliers in the region," she said.

Trade in services includes financial services, telecommunications services, and air transport ancillary services, among others. 

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