The internationalization of financial services in Asia
The internationalization of financial services -- eliminating discrimination between the treatment of foreign and domestic providers of financial services and removing barriers to the cross-border provision of financial services -- is of global interest, especially in Asia. Most of Asia limits the entry of foreign financial firms much more than otherwise comparable countries do. Empirical evidence for Asia and elsewhere suggests that this slows down institutional development and that, as a result, it costs more to provide financial services. Asian countries could benefit from accelerating the opening of the financial services sector, in conjunction with the further liberalization of capital accounts and domestic deregulation of financial markets. Apart from other benefits, internationalization helps build more robust, efficient financial systems by introducing international practices and standards; by improving the quality, efficiency, and breadth of financial services; and by allowing more stable sources of funds. The ongoing WTO (World Trade Organization) negotiation of financial services under GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) gives countries the opportunity to commit to opening their financial sectors. Safeguards can be built into the process, and the liberalization can be phased in gradually.
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