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WTO NEGOTIATIONS IN SERVICES – INDIA EMPHASISES NEED FOR REMOVAL OF BARRIERS IN MODES 4 & 1

Date : 26 Jun 2003
Location : New Delhi
 

Shri Arun Jaitley, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Law & Justice, has said that Mode 4 (i.e., movement of natural persons) is India’s main area of interest in the ongoing WTO negotiations under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and emphasised that constructive dialogue between developed and developing countries for removal of barriers to supply of services through this Mode is of paramount importance. "As such, we look for sector-specific commitments and for support for the removal of barriers such as economic needs tests, procedural difficulties associated with visas and work-permits and non-recognition of qualifications. Coordinated efforts are necessary to get negotiations on Mode 4 started at Cancun, perhaps based on the Mode Schedule being proposed by us. We expect support from the developed countries as well as the Friends of Mode 4 group on this issue in the run-up to Cancun", Shri Jaitley said in an intervention during the session on Services at the recently concluded informal Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) – mini ministerial – held at Sharm El Sheikh, near Cairo which was hosted by the Government of Egypt.

The Doha agenda negotiations on Services in the WTO are a request-offer process. Services under GATS can be delivered through four means – Mode 1, which refers to cross border trade in services; Mode 2, which relates to consumption of services abroad; Mode 3, which represents commercial presence; and Mode 4 i.e., movement of natural persons. India has also stressed its interest in Mode 1 which covers cross border supply of services such as business processes outsourcing (BPO).

"Being fully engaged in the services negotiations, India is actively participating in bilateral negotiations on requests and offers as well as the multilateral process. We re-emphasise the need for greater flexibility to be shown to developing and least developed countries. Adequate flexibility must also be given to these countries while scheduling their commitments, both in the choice of sectors and the extent of commitments. This is enshrined in Article XIX of GATS and the Guidelines and Procedures for negotiations. We consider the time frame given for the market access commitments negotiations in the Doha Ministerial Declaration to be indicative in nature", the Minister said.

Expressing disappointment at the initial offers tabled so far, particularly by the developed countries, in the sense that there is little tangible response to requests made by developing countries on Mode 4, the Minister drew attention to the guidelines and procedures for the negotiations on trade in services finalised in March 2001 which had clearly stated that the aim of the negotiations was to achieve progressive liberalisation of trade in services while giving due respect to the national policy objectives and levels of development of member countries and that special attention must be given to sectors and modes of supply of services of export interest to developing countries.

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