Who: India’s Preferential Treatment to LDCs in Trade in Services in the WTO
What: Approved by the Union Cabinet
When: 9 September 2015
Why: To improve trading opportunities with LDCs
The Union Cabinet on 9 September 2015 approved India’s Preferential Treatment to Least Developed Countries in Trade in Services in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
In the realm of Trade in Goods, India has already made a very generous offer to LDCs in the form of a Duty Free Tariff Preference (DFTF) scheme.
Features of Preferential Treatment to LDCs
It is applicable to following three areas
• Article XVI of the GATS (Market Access)
• Technical Assistance and capacity building
• Waiver of visa fees for LDC applicants applying for Indian Business and employment visas
While implementation of the article XVI of the GATS will have no direct financial implications, technical assistance and capacity building components and provision related to visa fees will cost 3 crore and 2.5 crore rupees respectively.
Under the WTO norms, Special and Differential Treatment (SDT) is allowed towards developing countries that include longer time periods for implementing Agreements and commitments or measures to increase trading opportunities for LDCs.
A generous offer in Trade in Services by India will result in goodwill of LDCs towards India and will help India preserve and consolidate its leadership position on LDC issues.
The present move also shows India’s commitment towards implementation of the Doha Development Agenda.