TPP Promoting Financial Services as an Investment Playground: Crystalizing a Change in Approach from GATS?
Considered as a secondary subject matter and largely ignored by international trade negotiators and the multilateral trade regime for some time, the importance of financial services in the wider sphere of international economic law has been steadily rising since the 2008 global financial crisis. First regulated internationally in the WTO’s GATS and the accompanying Annex on Financial Services, there remains much work to be done to further open and craft standards and rules for the sector. The text of the TPP had the capacity to play an important role in terms of liberalizing market access to financial services and in establishing a new set of standards and rules for their development at the global level. Financial services are both a trade and investment issue, yet negotiations have traditionally placed the issue within the trade ‘silo’ without recognising its important place as an investment issue. Negotiators of the TPP, in contrast, have followed the modern trend and added coherence to the issue by dealing with it both as a trade and investment issue, and rightfully placing financial services markets as a major investment playground. The TPP appeared to be a significant new player in the field of international economic law and this chapter therefore considers the TPP’s potential contribution to the liberalization of financial services by focusing on the idea that financial services may be promoted as a form of investment.