Services talks at WTO may not happen

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New Delhi, Jul 26 (UNI) Talks on liberalising services, which India been pressing for at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for quite some time, may not take place during the ongoing mini-ministerial in Geneva where more than 30 key countries are involved in tough bargaining to thrash out a touch-and-go deal on agriculture and industrial goods.

The signalling conference, which was scheduled to take up negotiations on services on Thursday, was postponed to Friday by WTO Chief Pascal Lamy.

Yesterday, he again postponed it further without a specific date to give more time to talks on farm and NAMA (Non-Agriculture Marketing Access or industrial goods).

After the second round of meeting of seven keys ministers yesterday, Lamy said both the services signalling conference and the formal trade negotiations committee will probably have to be postponed. But he told delegations to standby in case another informal meeting is called at short notice.

Commerce Minister Kamal Nath, however, said he would try to ensure the ''signalling conference'' on services takes place during the meeting.

Before leaving for Geneva, the minister had said India would be ready to be flexible on farm and industry talks if the developed countries reciprocated in good measures in the services, an area of interest to India.

The country has been urging developed nations to ease restrictions on movement of professionals, particularly from the information technology sector. Most developed countries, including the United States, have put up quota barriers to restrict movement of IT professionals from developing nations, including India.

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