WTO’s Assessment Of Trade Policies

  • 13 May 2019

Why is it in News?

India hosted a two-day WTO ministerial meet of 16 developing and six least developed countries at New Delhi from 13 May-14 May. In the meeting India highlighted the issue of WTO’s assessment of a country’s services trade.

India’s Stand:

  • India believes that the WTO’s evaluation procedure of a country’s ‘services trade’ policies is skewed towards developed countries and needs reform.
  • A study commissioned by the Commerce Ministry has found that the current assessment system, developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), has notable quantitative and qualitative shortcomings. It lists India very high in terms of restrictiveness.
  • Initiated in 2014, the Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI) shows the Indian services sector as one of the most restrictive, specifically in policy areas like foreign entry but this finding seems surprising as FDI has been one area that has seen maximum liberalisation in India since 1991.
  • India has developed a new method to measure restrictiveness in the services trade that would not have a bias either for developed or developing countries.
  • India is trying to rally the support of other developing countries in the WTO i.e. China, Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey, and South Africa etc to reform this practise.