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Barriers to Trade in Health and Financial Services in ASEAN
The purpose of this paper is to give background information on current barriers to trade in four services sectors in the ASEAN region. The information was summarized in a companion paper (Dee 2009), which also laid out concrete proposals for achieving the liberalization targets for these sectors from the ASEAN Economic Blueprint. The four key services are medical services (medical, dental and paramedical services), health services (hospital, medical laboratory and ambulance services), banking services and insurance services. The medical and health sectors are priority sectors under the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint. This paper describes the survey instruments that were used to collect information about current regulatory policy settings in these sectors in each of the ten ASEAN economies, gives a detailed presentation of results, and compares the results to other recent surveys of services trade barriers in these sectors. In the case of healthcare, there are few comparable cross-country studies, and none that have looked at the evolution of services trade barriers over time. In the case of banking and insurance, by contrast, there have been several previous studies, two of which have looked at how services trade barriers in these sectors have changed over time. In this paper, the most recent information on barriers to financial services trade in ASEAN is also made comparable to that in these other recent studies, so that the current situation in ASEAN can be compared with the recent situation in a number of other developed and developing countries. The findings of the other recent studies on the patterns of financial services liberalization over time are also summarized, as this can give insights into likely patterns of liberalization in ASEAN.