Jun 24, 2008

WTO, Canada and China - Follow the $$$ Trail

On June 20, 2008, pursuant to the WTO Agreement, Canada requested consultations with China concerning measures affecting foreign financial information suppliers in China.

The objective of the consultations is to seek a better understanding of China's regulatory regime governing the provision of financial information services by foreign suppliers, including how the relevant measures are applied. Canada seeks to resolve concerns over measures adopted by China that put Canadian financial information service suppliers at a disadvantage relative to domestic suppliers.

The consultations will also provide Canada with an opportunity to confirm its understanding of the Chinese measures and their consistency with China's obligations under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and its Protocol of Accession. Canada's goal is to ensure that Canadian financial information service suppliers operate on a level playing field.

As a global leader in financial information services, Canada has significant interests in the Chinese market. Timely and reliable financial information is of crucial importance to financial markets and to the ability of financial service providers to operate effectively in the global marketplace.

The European Communities and the United States launched consultations with China concerning these same measures in March 2008.

WTO consultations are a first step toward finding a resolution to a dispute through a discussion of the matter at issue. If consultations fail to resolve the matter, a party may request the establishment of a WTO dispute settlement panel.

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