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World Trade Organisation

This Decision adopts the Fifth Protocol to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) concerning financial services.


Council Decision 1999/61/EC of 14 December 1998 concerning the conclusion on behalf of the European Community, as regards matters within its competence, of the results of the World Trade Organisation negotiations on financial services. (pdf )


When the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations was concluded in December 1993, it was not possible to include the financial services sector on a permanent basis in GATS. The Uruguay Round commitments on financial services therefore came into force for a limited period, which expired on 30 June 1995. A successive interim agreement was concluded by certain WTO members (excluding the United States) in order to maintain the commitments they had entered into until December 1997.

On 12 December 1997 the Committee on Trade in Financial Services approved the results of the negotiations on financial services, whereby those services are to be included in GATS on a permanent basis and in accordance with the most-favoured nation (MFN) principle.

The aim of the Council Decision is to approve on behalf of the European Community the Fifth Protocol to the General Agreement on Trade in Services, under which the financial services sections of the schedules of specific commitments and the lists of MFN exemptions of the members concerned are to be replaced by the lists annexed to the Protocol.

The schedule of specific commitments of the European Communities (GATS/SC/31/Suppl.4) sets out the limitations on market access, listed by sector (insurance, banking and other financial services), applicable in each Member State. Likewise, the list of MFN exemptions (GATS/EL/31) sets out, in accordance with the same criteria, the limitations on national treatment.

A list of additional commitments is also annexed to the Protocol. It contains specific provisions which are binding on the European Communities and their Member States, particularly in the insurance sector.

ActEntry into force - Date of expiryDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Decision 1999/61/EC14.12.1998-OJ L 20 of 27.1.2999
Last updated: 06.06.2007
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