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The event discussed the recent WTO Appellate Body report on Argentina – Financial Services (DS453) – a case that addresses some key questions on the regulation of trade in services in general and financial services in particular, including the issue of “likeness” of services and service providers.  

Panama challenged eight financial, taxation, foreign exchange and registration measures imposed by Argentina mostly on services and services suppliers from “non-cooperative” countries – countries that do not exchange information with Argentina for purposes of fiscal transparency.

The Appellate Body reversed the panel’s findings that services and service suppliers from non-cooperative countries and those of cooperative countries or Argentine ones are like, because the panel had failed to assess whether the measures make a distinction based exclusively on origin (which could have justified considering them like). The Appellate Body also faulted the panel for considering that the legal standard of “treatment no less favourable” includes further investigation into a measure’s regulatory objective, after a finding that the measures modify the conditions of competition to the detriment of like services or service suppliers of any other Member. The Appellate Body rejected Panama’s arguments in the appeal with respect to the panel’s findings under the general exceptions provision under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the prudential exception of the Annex on Financial Services. The Appellate Body ultimately reversed all of the panel’s conclusions of violations but notably did not rule on the WTO-consistency of Argentina’s measures, and as a result, did not make recommendations either on compliance or implementation.

Practical info

Venue: Room S2, World Trade Organization (WTO), Rue de Lausanne 154, 1202 Geneva

Registration: Registration is mandatory(Registration is now closed.)

This event was streamed live online on this event page. Online viewers sent questions through the comment function below, and on Twitter using the hash tag #TalkingDisputes, @ICTSDTradeLaw, @WTIAdvisors. Selected questions were read and addressed by the speakers during the Q&A session. 

[The views and opinions expressed in the event are those of the experts and do not necessarily reflect those of ICTSD and WTIA.]

Geneva, Switzerland
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Date period: 
Wednesday, 25 May 2016 - 5:15pm