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Indian officials deny groundwork on FTA with US

Indian Express

Officials deny groundwork on FTA with US


7th August 2004

NEW DELHI, AUGUST 6 : Commerce Minister Kamal Nath’s interest in entering into a free trade agreement (FTA) in services with the US may not prove to be a smooth affair. According to senior ministry officials, there are serious reservations, both within the US and India, over liberalising the services sector.

It would be extremely difficult to have such an FTA, an official said. ‘‘So far, nothing has happened at the official level on the (US) FTA front. We have received no official paper indicating any movement in the direction of examining the possibility of a services FTA with the US,’’ he said.

Officials said the minister’s interest in a services FTA could have been generated by numerous studies done by various bodies, like the US-India Joint Business Council (JBC), in the area. However, no official step has been taken by either India or the US in this direction. Nath had reportedly said India was working on a proposal of a services FTA with the US. The US, in its services offers made at the WTO, has not made any offers on Mode 4, which deals with movement of natural persons.