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Prospects for IT-Enabled Services Under a Indo-US FTA

  • Arpita Mukherjee

    (Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations)

  • Paramita Deb Gupta
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    ITES/BPO services is an important and growing component of Indias trade in services with the US. While the Indian government has implemented several measures to support the growth of this sector, Indian companies face various barriers in the US market such as anti-outsourcing regulations, restrictive visa/work permit regime and concerns relating to protection of sensitive data. Multilateral negotiations would have been the best route to address many of these barriers, but with the recent suspension of the Doha Round of talks, it has become important for countries to evaluate alternative routes such as bilateral Free Trade Agreements. In fact, after the suspension of the multilateral negotiations, both India and the US have refocused on bilateral agreements. In this context, this study discusses the current and potential trade between India and the US in ITES/BPO services, identifies barriers to trade and explores how an FTA can enhance bilateral trade in this sector. The study shows that the US-FTAs have achieved a higher level of liberalization than in the WTO. It suggests various negotiating strategies for India such as a negative list approach, signing mutual recognition agreements in key professional services, asking for a H1B1 type of visa, pushing for removal of domestic regulation-related barriers, among others which would enhance market access for Indian companies in the US. It also points out that Indo-US collaborations for data protection, skill development and raising awareness of the advantages of outsourcing in the US would be mutually beneficial. The study discusses regulatory and other reforms which will improve the productivity, efficiency and global competitiveness of this sector and enable the country to gain from the FTA.

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    File URL: http://www.eaber.org/node/22230
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    Paper provided by East Asian Bureau of Economic Research in its series Trade Working Papers with number 22230.

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    Date of creation: Jan 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:eab:tradew:22230
    Contact details of provider: Postal: JG Crawford Building #13, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, Australian National University, ACT 0200
    Web page: http://www.eaber.org

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    1. Aaditya Mattoo & Sacha Wunsch-Vincent, 2004. "Pre-Empting Protectionism in Services: The GATS and Outsourcing," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(4), pages 765-800, December.
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