economic situation in India
India has suffered a setback in its efforts to facilitate easier movement of services sector professionals across borders.
A concept paper to set the tone for a recent global meeting of trade ministers and officials in Norway excluded any mention of work permits and visa related issues, dealing a blow to India’s attempts to secure simplified procedures for easy movement of its IT professionals, doctors and architects so that they can work overseas.
India recently submitted a proposal to the World Trade Organisation on removing barriers to global trade in services through simplified procedures for temporary entry and stay for professionals, technically called Mode 4 services. It pitched for transparency, streamlining of procedures and elimination of bottlenecks in its paper on Trade Facilitation Agreement in services.
Instead, the concept note only talked about technical standards and qualification requirements — called domestic regulation — needed to ease services trade. "In services, discussions are also moving beyond headlines, at least on the topic of domestic regulation," the note said.
Though the note said that no firm conclusions will be drawn from the meeting, the mini ministerial held a fortnight ago was a preparatory one for the WTO ministerial conference (MC) next year in Argentina.
"They want domestic regulation for online shopping stores and we want market access in services through Mode 4...We have said there can't be only one issue that can be discussed," said an official aware of the development. The note further said, "The issues that are at the forefront of the discussions leading up to MC 11, including agriculture, fisheries subsidies, domestic regulation in services, e-commerce and micro- small-, and medium-sized enterprises, as demonstrated by the high level of engagement in Geneva on these issues, are all of interest to developing members."