India can take forward trade reforms in service sector: Puri

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New Delhi, Aug 31 (IANS) With 57 per cent of India’s GDP contributed by services, the country can take forward trade reforms in the service sector, Union Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said here.

He was speaking at the launch of a book titled “Negotiation Dynamics of the WTO, An Insider’s Account”, written by Dr Mohan Kumar, Professor at O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU), at India International Centre in New Delhi.

Puri pointed out that trade strategies of countries evolve as their economic structures change. He gave the example of an earlier era when the US was pressing to include services trade in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agenda while India negotiated along with Brazil, South Africa and others to dilute it.

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But the situation today is entirely different, he said.

“India is a $2.7 trillion economy. At least 50 per cent of our GDP is in the external sector and that includes the value of goods and services. Fifty-seven per cent of our GDP now is contributed by services. So, we have an interest in taking service sector trade reforms forward today,” he stated.

Puri further said that the book clearly carries a viewpoint of a developing country negotiator.

In his book, Kumar states that India needs to revive WTO talks and stay within negotiations and shape the emerging multilateral trading system.

The book launch event also featured a panel discussion that debated issues like power play and conflicts between major powers and developing countries in the WTO, India’s role as a spokesperson of poorer nations in trade negotiations, and the threats of protectionism and mercantilism coming from the US and other rich countries which are weakening the multilateral trading system and perpetuating unfair outcomes.

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–IANS

rt/bc/nir

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