The Marine & Fire Insurance Association of Japan issues Proposal for the Upcoming WTO 2000 Round of Services Negotiations; Identifies Six Objectives for Talks on Financial Services(Nov. 19, 1999

When the top trade officials of the member countries of the World Trade Organization meet in Seattle, Washington on November 30 for the Third Ministerial Conference of the WTO, the way will be paved for the start of comprehensive negotiations that will take global services trade into the new millenium. These negotiations will be key to the sound development of the financial services sector of the world economy in the 21st century.

The Marine & Fire Insurance Association of Japan, a trade association comprised of 35 non-life insurance companies doing business in Japan, recognizes that the outcome of the WTO 2000 Round of Services Negotiations will greatly affect the future global operations of Japanese non-life insurance companies. As the leading representative of the Japanese insurance industry, the Association believes it can add a constructive perspective to the upcoming trade negotiations.

Today, Mr. Hiroshi Hirano, Chairman of the Marine & Fire Association of Japan, released a statement in which the Association identified six objectives in the area of financial services on which it encourages that specific progress be made during the WTO 2000 Round of Services Negotiations. Primary among these objectives are:

1. Full implementation by all member countries of the prior commitments made under the 1997 GATS Financial Services Agreement;

2. The need for members to make additional commitments to further liberalize global financial services markets. The Association calls for the reduction or elimination of barriers that still exist in some countries against the development of insurance operations by foreign companies, including limitation on foreign capital ratios, restrictions on the establishment of branch operations by foreign insurers, obstacles to licensing and other restrictions; and

3. The need to examine some of the methods by which financial services are regulated, in order to ensure objectivity and transparency in regulations, fair licensing standards, and a level field of competition for domestic and foreign financial services providers

Association's statement (PDF 24KB)