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EU Agency Backs Some U.S. Swaps Rules in Bid to Counter Overlaps

European Union regulators said that many U.S. rules for over-the-counter derivatives are as tough as EU standards, in a move that may shield banks from having to comply with two sets of requirements.

U.S. rules on the use of clearinghouses and trade repositories are broadly in line with EU measures, the European Securities and Markets Authority said today. EU-based banks would be allowed to only comply with U.S. rules for some activities in the country if the European Commission agrees with ESMA’s assessment.

“ESMA’s advice is based on a factual assessment of the rules of each jurisdiction but has also taken into account possible consequences for the stability and protection” of banks and investors, the agency said in an e-mailed statement.

The U.S. and European Union brokered a deal last month to resolve clashes in their regulation of the $633 trillion swaps market. The accord broke a deadlock over whether the U.S. could impose its rules on trades booked in Europe. Banks and other swaps traders said the deal reduces the chance they will be forced to comply with conflicting regulatory regimes.

The accord only partly settled how swaps rules will apply across borders and averted a regulatory crisis. Both sides said further negotiations would be needed on a range of issues.

While EU and U.S. rules on use of clearinghouses, trade repositories, and on risk management for non-cleared swaps are “equivalent,” this is not the case regarding rules for how parties to a swap contract should resolve disputes, ESMA said. The EU rules apply to a broader range of contracts, it said.

Chantal Hughes, a spokeswoman for the commission in Brussels, couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

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