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This book examines the extent to which, and the ways in which, regulatory barriers to trade in banking services can be liberalized under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The interface between regulation and trade liberalization is one of the foremost issues confronting the multilateral trading system. Although the regulation of services can create impediments to trade, such measures are often not intended to discourage trade but rather to attain other policy objectives. Therefore, in fulfilling the agenda of the GATS to open services markets, WTO Members have to address regulatory impediments to trade without undermining the ability of states to regulate their services sectors. The book explores how the tension between national regulatory autonomy and trade liberalization in banking services can be managed in the context of the multilateral trading system. It recognizes that the reduction of regulatory barriers to trade in banking services under the GATS is a challenging undertaking because of the heavily regulated nature of the sector and the important role of regulation in the industry.
The book examines why the banking sector is regulated and how the regulation of banking can impede trade in services, taking into account the regulatory reforms ensuing from the financial crisis. It provides an overview of the framework the GATS provides for the liberalization of trade in banking services and examines the specific commitments that WTO Members have undertaken to open their banking markets, focusing on the commitments of the EU, USA, India, and China. It assesses the existing disciplines in the GATS on discriminatory and non-discriminatory regulation in the banking sector and investigates how the WTO can address regulatory barriers to trade in banking services through additional disciplines on domestic regulation and recognition of prudential measures. The book also examines the extent to which the conclusions drawn with respect to banking services are equally applicable to insurance and securities services.