03 March 2009

ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA

Education Outcomes of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA

The Australian Government has issued a series of ‘fact sheets’ on the outcomes and the gains to Australia of the recently concluded free trade agreement between ASEAN and Australia and New Zealand. Please find below ASEAN countries commitments in respect of education services, as set out in the trade in services fact sheet. The extracts from the fact sheet have been slightly edited to make them more readable.

Normally the services chapter of an FTA covers movement of persons from one country to another in order to supply a service. This FTA is unusual because it contains both a chapter on trade in services and a separate chapter, and accompanying schedule of commitments, in respect of the movement of natural persons. Consequently commitments in the FTA in respect of movement of persons to supply education services, as set out in the Movement of Natural Persons fact sheet issued by the Australian Government, are reported separately below.

Education Services

Malaysia has committed to allow joint ventures in higher education with foreign equity up to 51 per cent, subject to the relevance of courses to Malaysia’s education objectives.

Laos has committed to allowing foreign higher education service suppliers to establish a commercial presence, e.g. a university campus, with up to 100 per cent foreign equity.

The Philippines has committed to allowing 40 per cent foreign equity in the establishment of education institutions to engage in twinning programs in the fields of agriculture, industrial, environment, natural resource management, engineering, architecture, science and technology and health-related programs.

Vietnam has committed to reduce the experience requirement for Australian teachers in higher, secondary and other education services (including foreign language training) from five to three years. It has also agreed in the FTA to expand its World Trade Organization commitments on the fields of study that can be delivered by foreign education suppliers.

The expanded list of fields of study is as follows: agriculture, architecture, building, business administration, management, computer science, construction information systems, dental services, economics, education, engineering, environment, surveying, health, community services, land and marine resources, animal husbandry, language studies, law, legal studies, life sciences, manufacturing, mathematics, medical science, medicine, multi-field education, nursing, pharmacy, physical sciences, science, services, culinary and hospitality, transport, veterinary science, visual and performing arts.

Thailand has committed to allowing 49 per cent foreign equity in foreign language tuition services.

Movement of Natural Persons and Education

The Philippines has made commitments that cover not only services suppliers, but also goods sellers and investors. The former include specialists under contract as part of a higher education twinning or bridging program in the fields of agriculture, industrial, environment, natural resource management, engineering, architecture, nursing, midwifery, science and technology and health-related programs. The period of stay is one year, which may be extended.

Malaysia has made commitments providing for temporary entry and stay of lecturers and experts and professionals (subject to numerical caps) and contractual service suppliers in higher education, for periods of stay up to ten years.

Thailand has committed to allowing temporary entry for teachers employed or invited by firms established in the secondary, higher, adult education, and foreign language tuition services sub-sectors. The period of stay is one year with the possibility of an extension.

For further information, please email me at tmurphy@nteu.org.au. Recipients of this document who wish to examine the original fact sheets and other material from the Australian Government on outcomes of the FTA should go the website of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, www.dfat.gov.au. The full text of the FTA can be found on this website.

Ted Murphy
National Assistant Secretary

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