India unlikely to open up legal, retail services

By agencies   |   Monday, 30 May 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI:India will make revised offers on opening up of services to the WTO but the implementation in the offer would depend on what it gets from other countries.

The Cabinet Committee on WTO, which met here today under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, directed Commerce Ministry to make improved offers in sectors where initial offers have already been made in 2003.

"What we ultimately offer will depend on what is offered to us," Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said adding his Ministry had been given the flexibility to move forward in services negotiations.

"While making the revised offer, New Delhi will also be guided by the range and depth of the improved offers that would be made by the developed countries in modes and sectors of interest to India," he said.

The sectors in which initial offers were made included business services, construction and related engineering services, health related and social services, tourism and travel related, maritime and transport services.

But opening up of retail, legal and accountancy services will be solely driven by national interests even though there is a mounting pressure on India from the US and other developed countries on the issue.

"The Cabinet Committee on WTO discussed the issue. We will await the offers and requests of other countries before we make our offer. So far, only Canada and Australia have made their offers," Nath said.

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