United States


US to open trade talks on global in­sur­ance, fi­nan­cial ser­vices

The United States Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive’s of­fice is ex­pected to en­ter into talks this year with the Euro­pean Union and more than a dozen other coun­tries on an agree­ment to elim­i­nate bar­ri­ers to trade in fi­nance and other ser­vice in­dus­try sec­tors.

The aim will be to re­move bar­ri­ers to trade and in­vest­ment in sec­tors such as fi­nance, in­sur­ance, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion, com­puter ser­vices and ex­press de­liv­ery, all ar­eas in which the United States is a lead­ing provider. The United States, the 27-na­tion Euro­pean Union and 18 other de­vel­oped and de­vel­op­ing coun­tries have been ex­plor­ing the idea of such an In­ter­na­tional Ser­vices Agree­ment for nearly a year. Emerg­ing mar­kets such as China, In­dia, Brazil and Rus­sia have so far avoided the talks.

The Peter­son In­sti­tute for In­ter­na­tional Economics con­ser­va­tively es­ti­mates the pro­posed agree­ment could in­crease an­nual ser­vices ex­ports among 16 core mem­bers by $78 bil­lion. “In ab­so­lute terms, the United States and the Euro­pean Union would see the largest ex­port gains, around $14 bil­lion and $21 bil­lion, re­spec­tively,” the Peter­son re­port shows. If Brazil, China and In­dia were to join the talks, the trade gains would ex­pand by around 30 per cent. The Geneva-based ne­go­ti­a­tions could in­clude Aus­tralia, Canada, Chile, Colom­bia, Costa Rica, the EU, Hong Kong, Is­rael, Ja­pan, Mex­ico, New Zealand, Nor­way, Pak­istan, Panama, Peru, South Korea, Switzer­land, Tai­wan, Turkey and the United States.

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