Spotlight – Lifting finance trade barriers

Negotiating with the World Trade Organisation has been a feature ofkets for firms and PwC’s Roger Davis is in the front line. the major financial services firms for more than a decade, but the battle is far from over. New markets are continually emerging to be exploited and accountancy firms are lining up to take advantage.

Leading the charge for UK financial services is lobby group British Invisibles.

Via its Liberalisation Of Trade In Services committee, set up in the early 1980s to help open markets for service providers, British Invisibles is engaged in initiatives to help ease regulatory and other constraints. LOTIS will be relaunched on Monday.

Founding members of British Invisibles include Arthur Andersen and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The pair will again be involved in the latest round of LOTIS lobbying, spearheaded by Barclays Bank chairman Andrew Buxton.

With two senior partners expected to sit on the committee, PwC is set to be at the forefront of the new negotiations next year. UK senior partner Peter Smith is tipped to claim a place on the committee with head of professional affairs, Roger Davis.

Formerly head of Coopers & Lybrand, Smith was involved in negotiations during the merger talks with Price Waterhouse last year. Davies is leading PwC submissions to the government’s company law review. He is also involved in general audit and governance issues.

With the next round of WTO negotiations due in January 2000, LOTIS is readying its case to ‘free up’ more channels for financial services firms.

It is a formula that has proved successful during previous negotiations for the WTO financial services agreement.

The General Agreement on Tariff and Trade’s Uruguay Round, concluded at the end of 1993, is widely seen as responsible for freeing up world trade.

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