Topics handled by WTO committees and agreements
Issues covered by the WTO’s committees and agreements

SERVICES: FINANCIAL SERVICES

Background

Apart from its participation in GDP, the financial services sector is usually a significant contributor to employment.

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In any country, the financial services sector is typically made up of banks, trust and loan companies, credit unions, life and health insurance companies, property and casualty insurance companies, securities traders and exchanges, investment fund companies, pension funds, finance and leasing companies, insurance agents and brokers, and a myriad of auxiliary service providers, such as independent financial advisors, actuaries, and intermediaries.

The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) Annex on Financial Services defines a ‘financial service’ as ‘any service of a financial nature offered by a financial service supplier of a Member’. Financial services include two broad categories of services: insurance and insurance-related services and banking and other financial services. These two categories are further broken down into the following:

— Insurance and insurance-related services
  
Insurance and insurance-related services cover life and non-life insurance, reinsurance, insurance intermediation such as brokerage and agency services, and services auxiliary to insurance such as consultancy and actuarial services.

  
— Banking and other financial services
  
This category includes all banking and other financial services, such as the acceptance of deposits and other repayable funds from the public, lending of all types (e.g. consumer credit, mortgage credit, factoring and financing of commercial transaction), financial leasing, all payment and money transmission services (e.g. credit, charge and debit cards, travellers’ cheques and bankers’ drafts), guarantees and commitments, securities trading, underwriting, money broking, asset management, settlement and clearing services, provision and transfer of financial information, and advisory, intermediation and other auxiliary financial services.

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