The financial crisis has revealed the special quality, and, at the same time, potential danger of financial services. Some financial products have dragged major banks and then entire economies into the economic abyss. These included US financial products that could be sold without restriction, e.g. to German banks, and were then often passed on to foreign special-purpose entities. This proves how much the transatlantic market has been liberalised.
TTIP as a financial lobbying project
Currently a number of important bilateral and multilateral negotiations are running for further liberalisation of trade with financial services, especially in the context of the planned new EU-US trade and investment agreement ("Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership”, TTIP). In July 2013, the European Commission of the EU Member States received the mandate to start the TTIP negotiations. The European Parliament cannot codecide on the negotiating mandate, but supported the negotiations by a large majority in May.
Due to aggressive lobbying by the financial sector in the EU and the USA, financial services have become a central interest of the head EU negotiators. This has occurred even though negotiations on this point are the main obstacle to sluggish negotiations between the EU and Canada and India.
The TTIP could potentially cover all types of financial services - or at least a leaked EU draft reveals a long and comprehensive list of institutions and activities: banks and the granting of credit of any kind, (re)insurance, including its sale, leasing, payment services of all kinds, including credit cards, guarantees or warranties, trading in securities, derivatives and financial transactions on all types of markets, foreign exchange transactions, fund management, clearing, provision and analysis of financial data and consultation of all kinds, such as that involved in corporate finance or company purchases.