WTO Working Papers

WTO working papers usually represent research in progress. Such research may be conducted in the preparation of WTO Secretariat reports, studies or other material for WTO members. The papers are circulated for comment because the WTO considers critical review of professional research to be extremely important.


Financial Services and the WTO

Liberalization in the Developing and Transition Economies

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.


Keywords: financial services, GATS, trade liberalization
JEL: F13: International Economics / Trade / Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations; G28: Financial Economics / Financial Institutions and Services / Financial Institutions and Services: Government Policy and Regulation; K33: Law and Economics / Other Substantive Areas of Law / International Law
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