Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 5 said the country’s priority will be to work towards trade facilitation agreement (TFA) for services, a move that will help in movement of professionals.
The issue was flagged by Modi during his intervention on the second day of the G20 Summit in this eastern Chinese city.
“Knowledge- and innovation-driven economy requires free mobility. India’s priority is to work towards Trade Facilitation Agreement for Services,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup quoted the Prime Minister as saying in a series of tweets.
India is pitching for this at the WTO as the services sector has a huge potential and it contributes significantly to the country’s economy.
Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said India would move a proposal on this at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to start the discussion.
She had raised the issue of TFA in services during an informal meeting with key members of WTO on the sidelines of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) ministerial council meeting in Paris in June.
In a tweet, Sitharaman welcomed the Prime Minister’s statement on the agreement.
WTO has already signed a similar pact for the goods sector.
The Prime Minister asserted that global trading regime must respond to needs and priorities of developing nations.
Global value chains must provide them level-playing field, he said, adding that trade facilitation is important.
“I urge countries to fully implement the Bali and Nairobi ministerial decisions,” he added.
The proposal for a TFA in services assumes significance as about a dozen countries are already negotiating Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) at WTO. India is not part of TISA.
Smooth movement of professionals needs liberalised visa regime such as multiple entry visas, visa-free travel for foreign tourists and long-term visas for business community.