The Foreign Investment Debate: Opening Markets Abroad or Closing Markets at Home?

By Cynthia A. Beltz | Go to book overview

7
How Do We Move Forward?
A Discussion

Conditional National Treatment

Harry Freeman, Freeman & Company: Mr. Florida, the European Commission issued three directives (in banking, securities, and insurance) between 1989 and 1991 that required reciprocity. If the United States does not let German or French financial services into these areas, then American firms will be restricted in their offer of financial services in Europe. After the European Union also refused U.S. proposals in the Uruguay Round for an open regime, Congress responded by introducing the Fair Trade in Financial Services bill, which calls for reciprocity in financial services. Why do you oppose this bill? Why should the Europeans be nervous about reciprocity mandates in the United States when it is at the base of their proposed financial system?

Richard Florida, Center for Economic Development, Carnegie Mellon University: The objective of U.S. trade and investment policy, we all agree, is to reap the fruits of globalization whether it be in manufacturing or in financial services, where there are barriers to competition. The question is whether we want to pursue this objective by taking a step backward to reciprocity and conditioning national treatment or whether we want to move in a positive direction.

In financial services, the United States has to develop a positive agenda. Instead of the tit-for-tat approach, the emphasis should be on developing a broader multilateral mechanism. In some sectors, the United States has already tested the waters but frequently makes a tactical retreat. We would gain both bilaterally and multilaterally from embracing a positive agenda consistently.

Clyde V. Prestowitz, Jr., Economic Strategy Institute: But what is the positive agenda? Would you go to Europeans, who have staked

-54-

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