The American Insurance Association (AIA) has voiced its support for the US negotiations with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to revive talks on opening up global insurance markets.

"We strongly urge other nations to follow the lead of the US negotiators and do the same," said David Snyder, AIA vice president and assistant general counsel.

“The US has made substantive offers on agricultural agreements this week during the WTO Doha Development Agenda meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. Unfortunately, developing countries have not. This will have a direct effect on service industry negotiations, including insurance,” said Snyder.

“Service industry negotiations have been held up because of the lack of agreement in the agriculture sector,” Snyder noted. “The US has this week made the kind of offer that should accelerate the agriculture negotiations and put an end to the excuses that have been plaguing the service industry talks.”

US Trade Representative Robert Portman has offered a bold plan to get the agriculture negotiations moving so that December's Doha Ministerial talks in Hong Kong can lead to a new WTO global free trade agreement for 2006. European Union negotiators have also made concessions and efforts that are much appreciated, Snyder said.

“Developing countries are hurting themselves by not stepping up to the level of commitment demonstrated by the US, so that the talks in Hong Kong can result in the kind of truly productive agreements that would instill confidence in the global economy,” said Snyder, adding that, “US insurance and service industries still seek access to foreign markets.”

“Insurance can provide unique and important benefits to a developing nation, including financial security to support economic growth, but insurance can only provide those benefits if the market is liberalised and insurers can enter. We implore our trading partners to respond to the US actions by opening up markets, and to not let this great opportunity pass them by,” Snyder stated.

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