Global services trade is far less than merchandise trade: President
Aamir H Kaki & Kanchi Batra
“The global services trade is far less than the global merchandise trade; however, it has an equal potential given that most economies today are dominated by services sectors in terms of output and employment,” the President said while inaugurating the 3rd Global Exhibition on Services (GES) 2017 at Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi.
“At a time when global merchandise trade is slowing down, trade in services can bring new benefits to the global economy even as technology, connectivity and knowledge drive its growth,” Mukherjee said.
However, global services trade is challenged by multiple issues relating to economic, legal and political spheres, he added.
In order to encourage greater services trade globally, Mukherjee said that it requires us to address policy matters such as access and facilitation through trade negotiations, transparency, dispute resolution and capacity building.
“Recognising the overwhelming role of trade in services in the overall trade agenda, India has acted to evolve solutions for resolving barriers to trade. Accordingly, in March this year, India tabled a paper at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on trade facilitation in services to increase the volume of trade in the sector,” he said.
Highlighting India’s importance in services trade, Mukherjee said, “Our services exports are helping global businesses build their productivity and competitiveness, and are supporting jobs across the world.”
“India’s share in global services exports has increased to 3.3% in 2015,” he said.
The services sector is a major contributor to the country’s GDP. It represents the fastest growing sector with an expected growth rate of 7.1% in FY 2016-17.
“While India has emerged as the fastest growing large economy in the world, its services sector outpaces its GDP growth rate and has been its key growth driver,” the President remarked.
Mukherjee further said that it is to be noted that pattern of the country’s services exports is vary of the world profile of services exports, which reflect its inherent advantages in knowledge-based subsectors.
“While travel and transport services make up for half of the world’s overall services exports of around $5 trillion, India’s overseas services engagement is dominated by ICT and other business services which constitute about two-thirds of its total services exports,” he said.
He stated that recently the government has unfurled a range of key developmental campaigns, which are aimed at unleashing new growth vectors that are further driving services sub sectors. Make in India, Digital India, Startup India, Skill India and Jan Dhan Yojana are shaping a new services dimension in the country and boosting the growth of the services sector.
Addressing the plenary session, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that services sector will facilitate aknowledge-based economy.
She highlighted the importance of e-visas for promotion of tourism and other services and said that there would be servicification of manufacturing due to which manufacturing will be dominated by services.
Talking about GES 2017, she said the exhibition has moved from strength-to-strength with an increase of 20 services in this edition from 10 in the first.
The 3rd edition of GES is being organised from April 17-20, 2017, by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry together with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC). Six ministers from different countries are participating at the GES. This year’s exhibition brings together 550 exhibitors from 70-plus countries. More than 20,000 visitors are expected to attend the exhibition.