DS: China — Measures Affecting Financial Information Services and Foreign Financial Information Suppliers

This summary has been prepared by the Secretariat under its own responsibility. The summary is for general information only and is not intended to affect the rights and obligations of Members.


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Summary of the dispute to date

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Complaint by Canada. 

On 20 June 2008, Canada requested consultations with China with respect to measures affecting financial information services and foreign financial information service suppliers in China.

Canada makes claims against a number of Chinese measures affecting financial information services and foreign financial information service suppliers in China.  Such measures include no fewer than a dozen legal and administrative instruments which require foreign financial information suppliers to supply their services through an entity designated by Xinhua News Agency (Xinhua).  Xinhua has designated only one such agent, China Economic Information Service (CEIS), one of Xinhua's commercial enterprises.  According to Canada, China prohibits foreign financial information suppliers from directly soliciting subscriptions for their services, requiring that solicitation of subscriptions to be done through the Xinhua-designated entity.  China likewise prohibits users of financial information services in China from directly subscribing to services supplied by foreign suppliers to provide the Foreign Information Administration Center (FIAC), a regulatory body within the Xinhua framework, detailed and confidential information concerning their financial information services, their customers and their foreign suppliers.  Canada contends that these and other requirements and restrictions accord less favourable treatment to foreign financial information suppliers than that accorded to Chinese financial information services and service suppliers which are not affected by these requirements and restrictions.

Canada also claims that China is preventing foreign financial information service suppliers from establishing any commercial presence in China other than limited representative offices.  Canada therefore considers that the measures at issue are inconsistent with Articles XVI, XVII and XVIII of the GATS, the horizontal standstill commitment contained in China's Schedule of obligations under the GATS, and China's Accession Protocol.

On 2 July 2008, the United States requested to join the consultations.



On 4 December 2008, China and Canada informed the DSB that they had reached an agreement in relation to this dispute in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding.


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