ASEAN -  Australia - New Zealand - Free trade Area

The Agreement was signed on 27 February 2009 in Thailand. It entered into force on 1 January 2010.


The ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS) was signed by ASEAN Economic Ministers on 15 December 1995 in Bangkok, Thailand. Facilitates the establishment of free flow  of services in the AEC by 2015 Creating a competitive, more efficient  services delivery network to facilitate further growth in other sectors in the economy




Korea is the second Dialogue Partner with whom ASEAN has forged a free trade agreement. In 2005, ASEAN and Korea signed the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (Framework Agreement), and subsequently, signed four (4) more agreements that form the legal instruments for establishing the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Area (AKFTA).


ASEAN economic committee - AEC

ASEAN Economic Community

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) shall be the goal of regional economic integration by 2015. AEC envisages the following key characteristics: (a) a single market and production base, (b) a highly competitive economic region, (c) a region of equitable economic development, and (d) a region fully integrated into the global economy.


The AEC areas of cooperation include human resources development and capacity building; recognition of professional qualifications; closer consultation on macroeconomic and financial policies; trade financing measures; enhanced infrastructure and communications connectivity; development of electronic transactions through e-ASEAN; integrating industries across the region to promote regional sourcing; and enhancing private sector involvement for the building of the AEC. In short, the AEC will transform ASEAN into a region with free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labour, and freer flow of capital.

Autonomous Liberalisation

Measures refer to measures undertaken unilaterally by WTO Members to liberalise their services sector, as a consequence of their own national liberalisation processes or World Bank/IMF structural adjustment programmes since 1995.

Best Practices

Methods or techniques that have consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that are used as a benchmark. The term is often used to describe the process of developing and following a standard way of doing things that multiple organizations can use.

Bilateral Trade

The exchange of goods between two countries. Bilateral trade agreements give preference to certain countries in commercial relationships, facilitating trade and investment between the home country and the foreign country by reducing or eliminating tariffs, import quotas, export restraints and other trade barriers. Bilateral trade agreements can also help minimize trade deficits.

Binding Commitments

The WTO agreements are lengthy and complex because they are legal texts covering a wide range of activities. They deal with: agriculture, textiles and clothing, banking, telecommunications, government purchases, industrial standards and product safety, food sanitation regulations, intellectual property, and much more. But a number of simple, fundamental principles run throughout all of these documents. These principles are the foundation of the multilateral trading system.

Business Enabling Framework – BEF

Document prepared by the regulator in support of a regulatory proposal, following consultation with affected parties. It records the key steps taken during the development of the proposal, and includes assessment of the cost benefits of each option.

CPC - Customs Procedure Code

A Customs Procedure Code (CPC) is used for both imports and exports to identify the nature of the movement of the goods. It is made up of three pairs of numbers and each pair identifies the applied procedure, the previous procedure (if applicable) and further classifies the nature of the movement.

Domestic regulations

Unpacking GATS Article VI.4 on domestic regulation exposes possibly the single most controversial item on the current negotiating agenda, and also one of the greatest threats that GATS poses to democracy. Concern is all the greater because it is not clear whether rules developed in the current negotiations on Article VI.4 will apply to all service sectors or only those where specific commitments have been made. Complex judgements decide the appropriateness of domestic regulations in the services sector, ensuring a balance between public interest and commercial considerations. These judgements must not be allowed to pass from elected governments to WTO disputes panels.

FTA - Free Trade Agreement

international economic integration where members agree to abolish tariffs and other trade barriers on most, if not all of each other's products, services, investment and intellectual properties. A Free Trade Area is the result of a Free Trade Agreement between two or more economies.

GATS - General Agreement on Trade in Services (WTO)

Main objective is to create a legal framework for liberalization in trade in services. Services were included in the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations which led to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Since January 2000, they have become the subject of multilateral trade negotiations.

Market access

Market access for goods in the WTO means the conditions, tariff and non-tariff measures, agreed by members for the entry of specific goods into their markets.


Malaysia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement


Malaysia and Japan established the Malaysia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (MJEPA) on 13 December 2005. MJEPA came into force on 13 July 2006.

MNP – Movement of Natural Person

One of the four ways through which services can be supplied internationally. Otherwise known as "Mode 4", it covers natural persons who are either service suppliers (such as independent professionals) or who work for a service supplier and who are present in another WTO member to supply a service.


Malaysia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement


Malaysia and New Zealand commenced negotiations on the bilateral FTA in May 2005. The Malaysia-New Zealand FTA (MNZFTA) negotiations were concluded on 30 May 2009 at the 10th round of negotiations in Kuala Lumpur.

The Agreement was signed by both Ministers of Trade on 26 October 2009 in Kuala Lumpur. MNZFTA entered into force on 1 August 2010.


The Malaysia-Pakistan Closer Economic Partnership Agreement


Malaysia and Pakistan established the Malaysia-Pakistan Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (MPCEPA) on 8 November 2007. MPCEPA came into force on 1 January 2008.

The MPCEPA encompasses liberalisation in trade in goods and services, investment, as well as bilateral technical cooperation and capacity building in areas such as sanitary and phytosanitary measures, intellectual property protection, construction, tourism, healthcare and telecommunications.



MSPC – Malaysian Services Provider Confederation

To be the sole platform for formulating common strategies, networking at national, regional and international levels for service sectors; To promote and stimulate demand for services – professional, business and others; To accelerate the growth of the services sector by: Enhancing the competitiveness, productivity and efficiency of the sector, Developing the capacities and capabilities for the sector, Positioning Malaysia to be a regional centre of excellence for those established and maturing sub-sectors, Engaging with the authorities, in the spirit of Malaysia Inc., to create a more conducive business environment for investments and export of services. Outreaching, nurturing and partnering constituent member organizations in strengthening institutional support in both development and promotion.

Multilateral Trade Agreement

A multilateral trade agreement involves three or more countries who wish to regulate trade between the nations without discrimination. They are usually intended to lower trade barriers between participating countries and, as a consequence, increase the degree of economic integration between the participants. Multilateral trade agreements are considered the most effective way of liberalizing trade in an interdependent global economy.

National Treatment

Is a principle in international law vital to many treaty regimes. It essentially means treating foreigners and locals equally. Under national treatment, if a state grants a particular right, benefit or privilege to its own citizens, it must also grant those advantages to the citizens of other states while they are in that country. In the context of international agreements, a state must provide equal treatment to those citizens of other states that are participating in the agreement. Imported and locally-produced goods should be treated equally — at least after the foreign goods have entered the market.

Regional Trade Agreements

A preferential trade agreement or free trade agreement, signed between countries in the same region (often located near to each other).


The service sector, also called the tertiary sector, is one of the three parts of the economy in the Three-sector hypothesis. This hypothesis breaks the economy into three main areas so it can be better understood. The other two are the primary sector, which covers areas such as farming, mining and fishing; and the secondary sector which covers manufacturing and making things. The service sector provides a service, not an actual product that could be held in your hand. Activities in the service sector include retail, banks, hotels, real estate, education, health, social work, transport, computer services, recreation, media, communications, electricity, gas and water supply

Services Trade and Modes of Supply











Mode 1 – Cross Border Trade

From the territory of one Member into the territory of any other Member.

Mode 2 — Consumption abroad


In the territory of one Member to the service consumer of any other Member.

Mode 3 — Commercial presence  and 


By a service supplier of one Member, through commercial presence, in the territory of any other Member.

Mode 4 — Presence of natural persons


By a service supplier of one Member, through the presence of natural persons of a Member in the territory of any other Member 

SME definition for services

Services and other sectors, sales turnover not exceeding RM20 million OR full-time employees not exceeding 75 workers


Trade Agreement

Wide ranging tax, tariff and trade treaty that often includes investment guarantees. The most common trade agreements are of the preferential and free trade types are concluded in order to reduce (or eliminate) tariffs, quotas and other trade restrictions on items traded between the signatories

Trade Barriers

Measures that governments or public authorities introduce to make imported goods or services less competitive than locally produced goods and services

Unregulated sectors

The working definition for unregulated services sector is services sectors that is not regulated by any act, regulations, government guidelines, government licensing requirement and are not supervised by any government agencies.

WTO – World Trade Organisation

It is an organization for trade opening. It is a forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements. It is a place for them to settle trade disputes. It operates a system of trade rules. Essentially, the WTO is a place where member governments try to sort out the trade problems they face with each other.