MRA in ASEAN: An overview

Mutual recognition agreement (MRA) facilitates trade and service through mutual recognition of the authorization, licensing, or certifying standard of professional service providers acquired at a countries by another country participating in the MRA. The MRA promotes the circulation of foreign experts by reducing the complicated procedures for obtaining licenses to provide services in other countries. The article will outline some normal knowledge of ASEAN MRA.

Definition and Importance of MRA

MRAs are actually international treaties, under which countries,  departments or career organizations (the subjects have authorities) recognize the similar technical standards of another country. After that, qualified professional entities from one country can move to practice in another. Accordingly, countries, departments or professional organizations (the subjects have authorities) recognize similarities in technical standards of another country (or conformity assessment procedures). .

MRAs’ role is to create a free career service environment where professionals can freely move (or limit accreditation procedures in host country), as well as those create a measure to reduce the cost of entering the foreign service market, and support the creation of the more opened and free shared market.


ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS Agreement) is the legal premise for the development of MRA in the ASEAN region. On the basic of AFAS, ASEAN members have performed to negotiate and develop MRAs in specific service areas.

MRA on Engineering Services :

This is the first MRA that ASEAN countries signed. ASEAN countries signed the MRA on 9/12/2005 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This MRA seeks to develop an ASEAN general registration system of engineering practice. As a result, ASEAN has established the ASEAN Chartered Professional Engineers Coordinating Committee (ACPECC) located in Jakarta (Indonesia) to coordinate the implementation of this MRA.

The MRA on Architectural Services

This MRA was signed on November 19, 2007 in Singapore. It seeks to develop an ASEAN Common Architect practice registration system. Accordingly, ASEAN has established the ASEAN Architect Council (AAC) to manage the implementation of this MRA. Each ASEAN country also establishes an Committee to carry out the ASEAN Architect assessment and registration process.

MRA on Accountancy Services

The MRA was officially signed on November 13, 2014 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar; ASEAN has established the ASEAN Chartered Professional Accountant Coordinating Committee ( ACPACC ) to implement this MRA. Each ASEAN country also establishes an Committee in its own country to carry out the process of evaluating and applying for a Qualified Professional Accountant license under ASEAN. This MRA applies to all accounting services except independent audit reporting and licensing services in ASEAN countries.

MRAs on Nursing Service, Medical Practitioners and Dental Practitioners

MRA on Nursing dated December 8, 2006 in Cebu, Philippines. In Cha-am, Thailand, February 26, 2009 marks the date of signature of MRA on Medical Practitioners and MRA on Dental Practitioners. The common feature of all three MRAs is that it does not aim to establish a common ASEAN registry but mainly focuses on information exchange and strengthening cooperation on mutual recognition in these sectors, promote the application of best practices in standards and qualifications, provide opportunities for capacity building and training,…

MRA on Surveying Services

MRA on Tourism Professionals (MRA-TP)

The MRA was signed by ASEAN countries on 9/11/2012 in Bangkok, Thailand. The main content is the qualifications of workers of one ASEAN country can be recognizable to another ASEAN country; these workers are able to work in these countries when they fulfill all the conditions.

ASEAN is moving towards building many MRAs for the profession. This is to create an expanding common human resource market; as well as facilitate building an ASEAN economic market.

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