Wednesday, June 25, 2008
WTO / GATS: Canada, EU, and US Complain About China's Restrictions on Foreign Financial Information Service Providers
The listserve for the Canadian Law Committee of the American Bar Association Section of International Law brings us news that Canada has joined the European Union and the United States in a new WTO case brought against the People's Republic of China, to challenge its restrictions on foreign financial information service providers.
The two sides have 60 days to resolve their differences over China's commitments under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). If they don't come to some compromise, a WTO panel may be established to rule on claims that China is restricting foreign financial information service providers. At issue is a 2006 administrative order that prohibits foreign financial information services from selling directly to domestic clients in China. Instead, they have to sell their services through an agent designated by the state-owned Xinhua News Agency. There are also charges that China requires foreign suppliers to disclose confidential information to the Foreign Information Administration Center (FIAC), a regulatory body within Xinhua.
Hat tip to Marcy Stras, a partner at Baker & Hostetler in Washington DC