The American Insurance Association believes that the number of international agreements that are up for consideration, and their potentially far reaching consequences for the industry, could make July 2001 an historic month, which would mark a turning point for U.S. insurers in the global trade arena.
John Savercool, AIA VP of federal affairs, summed up the reasons as follows: “This month brings historic trade opportunities. July 2001 could well be the time analysts point to for the laying of historic foundations for U.S. insurance trade in key markets. During this month alone it is likely the house of representatives will have major votes on Trade Promotion Authority, Normal Trade Relations (NTR) for China, and the U.S.-Vietnam bilateral trade agreement.”
“These votes,” he continued, “coupled with negotiations to finalize the terms of China’s accession to the World Trade Organization, and the beginning of new trade-in-insurance negotiations with Japan this month offer U.S. insurers some major opportunities for expansion.”
While the China/WTO negotiations are currently stalled (see previous article) a breakthrough is widely expected, as everyone involved has essentially made a political commitment to see to it that China eventually joins.
Savercool pointed out that, “Most people generally consider international trade in the context of manufacturing goods, agriculture or technology, rather than in financial services and insurance. What most people don’t know, however, is that trade in financial services generates a huge surplus – unlike other types of trade – and will be a cornerstone of U.S. international trade policy in the new century.”
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