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Commerce ministry pushing for relaxation of services trade

The RBI has been engaged to develop real-time statistics on trade in services

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

The department of commerce is pushing all ministries to ease the rules on services trade, even as the government is trying to bring out more robust data on services export.

The department has also engaged with the Reserve Bank of India to develop real-time statistics on trade in services. This is because the ministry of commerce and industry has recently announced freely transferable duty scrips for services exports under the Services Exports From India Scheme, Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher said here on Monday.

India is hosting a Global Exhibition on Services from Thursday, to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India has been holding a services conclaves for the past two years.

India had been trying for a long time to be part of the Trade in Services Agreement, currently being negotiated among 23 countries, also members of the World Trade Organization. However, it is not being able to enter it for various reasons. As a result, its effort to position itself as a leader in services exports has taken a huge hit.

The US and European Union are also part of the exercise, the talks for which were launched in 2012. Together, they account for 70 per cent of world trade in services. Once concluded, it will open the floodgates of services export across sectors such as banking, telecom and construction, among others.

The pact aims at opening markets and improving rules in areas such as licensing, financial services, telecom, e-commerce, maritime transport, and professionals going to a foreign country on a temporary work visa.

According to officials in the commerce department, India is not able to join TISA due to the ratchet and standstill obligations that seek to bring the services sector liberalisation under binding commitments.

First Published: Tue, April 21 2015. 00:32 IST