CIAB Supports China Entry Into WTO – Applauds

May 24, 2000

The CIAB has endorsed China’s entry into the WTO without reservation, predicting that it would open “a wealth of opportunity for the financial services industry.”

CIAB Board member Jesse J. Watkins in testimony before the House Commerce Committee Finance and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee emphasized the importance of the recent EU Agreements with China. (See previous stories)

“We are very pleased that the Chinese are now demonstrating their commitment to full market liberalization by providing intermediaries with the same level of access granted to insurance companies,” Watkins stated. “Insurance companies and intermediaries work closely together and it is difficult to imagine a viable system that allows insurers broad access to consumers, but denies their agents and brokers the ability to distribute those products,” he continued.

In his testimony Watkins described banking, insurance and securities as “the three pillars of a competitive market,” but cautioned that “those sectors must have access to the market and be able to operate in a competitive environment with clear rules and regulations that are not subject to the arbitrary whims of the government.” He saw China’s membership in the WTO as providing that kind of stability.

Watkins indicated that the CIAB and the World Federation of Insurance Intermediaries (WFII) “would have supported China’s entry into the WTO even without the new concessions because liberalization of trade is critical to economic growth and stability.”

Commenting on the CIAB position, president Ken A. Crear pointed out the importance of the unity created by the WFII. “For the first time,” he stated, “insurance intermediaries across the globe are all speaking with one voice. The needs of insurance agents and brokers have been ‘on the table’ through out all of the negotiations involving China’s entry into the WTO.”

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