Addressing New Service Sectors in WTO/FTAs: Express Delivery and India

The service sector is evolving. New services and new modes of delivering existing services have increased the complexities of services negotiations in the WTO and in FTAs. The WTO negotiations focus on market access but FTAs tend to go beyond market access to seeking regulatory commitments from trading partners. India is a proponent of services liberalisation both in the WTO and through bilateral/regional agreements. In this context, this paper examines how new service sectors like express delivery services (EDS) are addressed in WTO/FTAs and its implications for India. Express delivery services are one of the fastest growing sectors in India. It plays a crucial role in trade facilitation and in enhancing the global competitiveness of Indian industries. At present, there are no FDI restrictions and the country can undertake market access commitments in WTO and in its FTAs. The proponents of liberalisation of express delivery services also seek commitments in complementary services like transport and warehousing. The study found that since the autonomous liberalisation is more than India’s offers in the Doha Round of the WTO negotiations, India is in a position to broaden its commitments in the WTO.