This paper analyses the results of the financial services negotiations under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) at the World Trade Organization (WTO). It shows that the negotiations have contributed to more stable and transparent policy regimes in many developing and transition countries. The wide range of market access and non-discrimination commitments should advance the process of progressive liberalization. The commitments do not compromise the ability of countries to pursue sound macroeconomic and regulatory policies. However, other aspects of the outcome do raise some concerns. First, there has been less emphasis on the introduction of competition through allowing new entry than on allowing (or maintaining) foreign equity participation and protecting the position of incumbents. Secondly, even where immediate introduction of competition was not deemed feasible, not much advantage has been taken of the GATS to lend credibility to liberalization programmes by precommitting to future market access.


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  • Published online: 01 Mar 1998
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