The Commerce & Industry Minister, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman outlined the relevance of facilitating trade in services as has been done in the case of trade in goods. Inaugurating the Workshop facilitating trade in services in New Delhi today she emphasized need for efficient and fair flow of services to promote international trade in services. The Minister said market access is not facilitation but an issue .She said knowledge has become a factor of production and it is important to know how to handle it.
The World Bank Group in partnership with the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India is organizing a two day workshop on issues which need to be addressed to facilitate Trade in Services .
With a view to promote& facilitate international trade in services, India has taken the initiative of floating a draft Legal Text for an Agreement on Trade Facilitation in Services (TFS) at the WTO in February 2017, which proposes a way forward on comprehensively addressing the numerous border and behind-the-border barriers, across all modes of supply, which are experienced as impediments by the industry to the realization of the full potential of services trade. Preceding the legal text, India tabled a 'Concept Note for an Initiative on Trade Facilitation in Services' in October 2016 followed by an ‘Elements Paper’ proposing the possible elements of the TFS Agreement in November 2016.
The proposals by India have generated a lot of interest, both within and outside the WTO. Many Members have welcomed the novel idea and approach of India in bringing forth this proposal. Some members have also raised concerns on certain issues. India looks forward to engaging in constructive discussion with all stakeholders to take this initiative forward.
It was recognised that this workshop is being held at a very opportune time, when we are increasingly hearing protectionist voices from across the globe. In such critical times, institutions like the World Bank have a special role to play in identifying and propagating fair and equitable practices for promoting free and fair trade.
In this regard, the workshop organized in partnership with the World Bank Group provides an excellent platform in creating awareness as well as brainstorming on the various issues relating to both content and approaches on how to address facilitation of services trade among global experts, academics, private sector, government officials, and industry representatives. The valuable insights received through deliberations in various services over the next two days will be extremely useful in carrying forward the agenda of facilitating trade in services.