International Trade and Investment

Financial services are crucial to U.S. economic prosperity, helping fuel economic activity across all industries, including manufacturing, agriculture and technology.  Free and fair-trade agreements promote U.S. economic growth and job creation by expanding opportunities for financial services firms to compete in overseas markets and better serve their clients. Similarly, inbound investment by foreign financial institutions contributes to the vitality of the U.S. economy through direct investments and job creation.  SIFMA supports an open, rules based, global economy in which financial services can boost exports, investment and global economic growth.

SIFMA believes that trade agreements should be comprehensive, broadening market access for financial services firms and addressing issues specific to the 21st century economy in digital trade, to enhance U.S. economic competitiveness in the 21st century. To that end, we encourage policymakers to: (i) expand the free flow of goods and services around the world and maximize cross-border investment opportunities; (ii) coordinate regulatory approaches across borders to ensure a level playing field for domestic and international firms; (iii) address the rise of digital protectionism.

U.S.-China Economic Relationship

The U.S.-China economic relationship is one of the most important in the world, and U.S. financial services firms export more than six times what we import from China. Still, U.S. financial services firms face myriad trade barriers in China – such as restrictions on foreign ownership, cross-border data transfer, and investment and repatriation levels, among others. SIFMA supports efforts to strengthen the U.S.-China economic relationship through the U.S.-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue. We encourage U.S. policymakers to prioritize: (i) the elimination of equity caps on financial services firms invested in China; (ii) expanded market access for U.S. financial firms in China; (iii) level playing field issues; and (iv) cybersecurity and agreements to avoid digital protectionism.

Financial Regulatory Cooperation

SIFMA believes that a major obstacle to enhanced trade and investment is uncoordinated and often divergent approach to financial regulation. As such, we strongly support the inclusion of a framework for financial services regulatory cooperation, as well as solutions to market access issues, in future trade and investment agreements. Addressing cross-border regulatory issues in trade agreements would reduce conflicting rules that add frictions to financial markets, enhance efficiency in cross-border trade and investment, and promote transparency in the rulemaking process.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

Free trade with NAFTA countries helps increase exports, create American jobs, and boost U.S. economic growth. The U.S. enjoys a competitive advantage in financial services with NAFTA countries. For instance, the U.S. benefits from a $4.3 billion surplus in financial services trade with Canada, and a $1.1 billion surplus in financial services trade with Mexico (Bureau

of Economic Analysis, International Services, 2015 data). SIFMA therefore supports continued market access to NAFTA countries to ensure that financial firms can compete on a level playing field in these important markets. SIFMA is pleased to engage in the administration’s ongoing efforts to modernize the NAFTA agreement.

UK’s Exit from the EU (Brexit)

Brexit has potentially huge implications for the financial services industry, since the City of London is the preeminent financial capital of Europe. Together with our colleagues at the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) and Global Financial Markets Association

(GFMA), SIFMA believes that phased implementation is crucial to ensure a smooth exit from the EU, such that firms have ample time to navigate and adapt to any institutional or legal changes underpinning well-established inter-EU/UK trade and investment relationships. SIFMA also hopes to see market access between the UK and the rest of the EU maximized, so banks based in the UK can continue to passport their services throughout the EU Single Market.

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