Cablegate: Wto Services Negotiations: Thailand Response

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. Econoff contacted Ministry of Commerce's Department of
Trade Negotiation (DTN) officials per reftel regarding the
Thai offer on trade in services. Answers are keyed to
questions in reftel.

2. Q: Has the host government stated specifically that its
offer is tied to further movement in agriculture
negotiations, concessions on temporary entry, rules or other
factors? Would the host government likely be prepared to
table an initial or revised services offer pending movement
in these areas, in particular agriculture? A: DTN sent a
revised services offer to their offices in Geneva in
mid-September. DTN's Geneva office is reviewing the offer
for any necessary technical corrections and estimate they
will submit the revised offer to the WTO by the end of

3. Q: What ministries, government officials or other
entities, including the legislature, play a role in decisions
on services? What players are likely to have the most
influence in determining the extent of the host government's
services offer? A: Individual line ministries have
responsibility for services decisions, i.e. the Ministry of
Education will have purview over issues involving education
services. The Ministry of Commerce plays a coordinating
role. Commerce's Department of Trade Negotiations has the
responsibility for drafting the services offer.

4. Q: Are there particular domestic constituencies that
support or oppose services liberalization? What are they?
Are they significant? What is the main reason for their
support or opposition? A: The finance and transportation
industries in particular are concerned about services
liberalization, emphasizing the need for additional
adjustment periods in order to better compete in a
liberalized market. Professional organizations, for example
the institute of certified accountants, have expressed
opposition to liberalizing their industries out of a fear of
increased competition.

5. Q: What are the host country's sensitivities with regard
to services sector opening? Do host government officials
appreciate that, with the approach of the Hong Kong
Ministerial and the negotiating deadline next year, it is
critical that services offers be tabled immediately? A:
Financial services liberalization is the most sensitive issue
as the effects of the 1997 Asian financial crisis are still
fresh in the minds of Thais. Insurance and securities
sectors of financial services are less sensitive, but banking
services are of particular concern. Thailand insists on
tight controls over capital flows, and regulatory flexibility
for the Central Bank to manage the financial system. Thai
officials are aware of next year's deadline and will soon be
submitting their revised offer in recognition of the time

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