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WTO NEWS: 1995 PRESS RELEASES

PRESS/19
28 July 1995

Financial services agreement confirmed: statment by Chairman

The Chairman of the Committee on Trade in Financial Services, Mr. Frank Swedlove of Canada, today confirmed the completion of the negotiations on financial services.In all twenty-nine WTO Members (counting the EU as one) have agreed to sign the protocol stating their intention to implement improved schedules of commitments by no later than 30 June 1996. A decision related to the protocol also states the willingness of members to comply with the improved schedules immediately, so long as it is consistent with existing domestic legislation. Swedlove noted in the meeting:

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"Given the events of 30 June, the results achieved today are the best that could have been hoped for. The discussions and negotiations which have taken place over the past year have led to important improvements, both in terms of market access and national treatment commitments and in terms of fewer and less trade-distorting MFN exemptions.

"The EU has shown great leadership over the past month in response to the US decision of the end of June. And other countries should also be commended for their unwavering commitment to the principles of progressive liberalization and MFN. Without these efforts, the negotiations on financial services would have certainly led to failure.

"Today's achievement should be considered as a key step forward, but by no means the end of the process. Members have committed to review their positions on financial services by the end of 1997. This will create an opportunity for commitments to further liberalization and an even broader MFN-based agreement."