The Arab Framework Agreement of Liberalization of Trade in Services Among Arab Countries
This agreement aims to liberalise trade in services among Arab countries by establishing a general framework for the gradual liberalisation of trade in services and creating an enabling environment to facilitate trade in services among the nations. It aims at enhancing and activating the Arab economic cooperation and integration and promoting the common interests of Arab countries in the field of services on the basis of mutual benefit and balance between rights and obligations.
About the Agreement
Each party shall provide the services and service suppliers of any one member with the most favourable treatment provided to similar services and service providers of any other member. The agreement shall not be interpreted in such a way that could preclude any party to grant benefits to neighbouring countries to facilitate the trade-off of services that are produced and consumed locally only within the neighbouring regions.
The provisions of this agreement may not be interpreted in such a way that grant benefits to member countries in other blocs or agreements that are developed to apply a wider liberalisation of trade in services among the members of this agreement.
Labour Markets Integration Agreements
The provisions of this agreement shall not preclude its parties from entering into an agreement that aims to achieve the full integration of the labour markets between its parties provided the following conditions are met:
- Citizens of the parties of the said agreement shall be excluded from the special conditions of residency and work licenses.
- The Economic and Social Council shall be informed thereof.
- Except for emergencies, each party shall, promptly and no later than the effective date of such procedures, circularise all important and public procedures relevant to this agreement or affects its implementation. All international agreements on the trade in services or affecting them which are signed by the party shall also be circularised.
- Should the circularisation be not possible as referred to in the abovementioned paragraph, the information shall be made publicly available by any other means.
- Each party shall inform the Economic and Social Council promptly and annually of any new laws, regulations, or guiding administrative principles or any amendments to the current procedures that may have a significant impact on the services included in the obligations hereunder.
- Each party shall promptly respond to any request made by any other party concerning the provision of specific information about the generally applicable procedures which are signed by the party and included in Paragraph (a) above. Also, each party shall indicate a delay point during two years at a maximum from the effective date of this agreement.
- Any party may inform the Economic and Social Council of any procedures taken by any other party as long as the informing party considers that such procedures affect the implementation of this agreement.
The provisions of Clauses 4, 21 and 22 hereof do not apply to the laws, regulations and conditions that ensure that the government entities access to services through procurement for governmental purposes other than reselling them for commercial purposes or using them in supplying services for commercial sale. The parties shall implement all obligations imposed by multilateral negotiations on governmental procurements in the services field which are conducted within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This agreement does not prevent parties from conducting negotiations on government procurement.
- The parties acknowledge that subsidiary, in certain circumstances, could have negative impacts on trade in services. The parties shall exchange information about all types of subsidiaries linked to the trade in services the state party provides to the local services providers therein.
- Any party deems that they are negatively affected by the subsidiary provided by another state party may request to hold consultations in this regard. Such requests shall be examined carefully.
- The parties shall implement the items agreed upon regarding subsidising the services sector in multilateral negotiations to be held under the framework of WTO.
- This agreement does not prevent parties from holding negotiations regarding the introduction of multilateral controls required to avoid harmful impacts on trade which are resulted from providing subsidiary including the appropriateness of the compensatory measures.
Access to Markets
- With respect to market access through the supply ways specified in Clause (1), each party shall give services and service providers of any other party a level of care not less than the care specified under the conditions and limits agreed upon and listed in the relevant table of obligations.
- If a party is committed to ensuring access to markets for a certain service by the way of supply and if the cross-border capital movement is deemed an essential part of the service, such party shall commit to the following to allow the capital movement. If a party is obligated to secure access to markets for a certain service by the way of supply, such party shall, accordingly, allow the transfer of relevant capital into its territories.
- For sectors in which the party shall make commitments to access markets, the procedures that may be enforced or applied by the party to the whole or any part of its territories shall be determined unless they are enlisted in its table as follows:
- Limiting the number of service providers whether in the form of numerical shares, monopolies, or exclusive service providers, and requiring them to conduct economic need analysis.
- Limiting the total value of transactions or assets linked to the services in the form of numerical shares or requiring them to conduct economic need analysis.
- Limiting the number of service operations or the total quantity of service products that are expressed as shares or requiring them to conduct economic need analysis. This paragraph does not include the procedures taken by a party to limit the inputs required for supplying services.
- Limiting the number of natural persons who may be appointed in certain service sectors or who may be used by the services provider as they are required to supply a certain service or another relevant service in the form of shares or requiring them to conduct economic need analysis.
- Procedures that limit or oblige the services provider to supply them through certain types of legal entities or joint ventures.
- Limiting the Arab participation through the determination of a maximum percentage of the Arab share ownership or the total value of the Arab investments whether individual or aggregate.