NEW DELHI: After the successful conclusion of trade facilitation agreement (TFA) in goods, India wants WTO members to now focus on a similar pact for the services sector to promote job creation and growth in developing as well as rich nations.
«I have made a suggestion (about trade facilitation agreement in services) because services is an important area for both developing and developed countries so it should be good idea for everyone. It is a suggestion,» the secretary told PTI.
Addressing industry leaders recently, she had said that WTO members should move forward on liberalising the services sector.
The sector is important for developing countries as a road for growth and employment generation, she had said, adding that this idea should be the next item of work in the WTO.
India is already pushing hard for a comprehensive trade pact in the services sector, a key area of interest for the country, in the ongoing free trade agreement negotiations including with the European Union and Regional Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
TFA in services means liberalised visa regime such as multiple entry visas, visa-free travel for foreign tourists and long term visas for business community.
India is very strong in the services area as the sector contributes over 50 per cent in the country’s economic growth. To boost services exports, the ministry is already working on some reform measures in sectors including education and legal.
Last year, it had organised a global exhibition on services.
At the WTO’s ministerial meeting held recently in Nairobi, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that services sector is important for developing countries for growth as well as job creation.
India is pitching for liberalisation of services trade, particularly in Mode 1 and Mode 4 in the WTO.
The Mode 1 negotiations pertain to business process outsourcing, which are generally known as cross-border services like doctors providing consultation to a patient in the US sitting in India through e-mail. Under this, India wanted these services to be totally liberalised so that there were no restrictions on carrying them out.
The WTO members agreed to implement the TFA in goods in December 2013 at the Bali Ministerial meeting. India too is gearing up to ratify the pact, which aims at simplifying customs rules to boost trade.