Lamy pitches for deal in services to clinch Doha

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London, Oct 16 (UNI) Even as 151 member-countries are preparing to enter the final leg of protracted negotiations on agriculture and industrial goods in the Doha round, World Trade Organisation chief Pascal Lamy has called for parellel negotiations in the services economy which is estimated at about 68 per cent of the world gross domestic product.

Like revised compromise texts on agriculture and industrial goods, which have been under discussion in Geneva, the WTO director-general pitched for a services compromise text for parallel discussion in the coming weeks for the success of the Doha round.

Speaking at the European Services Forum and the London School of Economics conference here yesterday, he said since services occupies a central place in the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) package, successful conclusion of the Doha round will depend on the positive outcome of negotiations on services. Challenge in services is '' to shift the negotiations into a higher gear'' and push it with political energy to achieve substantive progress, he added.

Describing as ''outdated'' the conventional economic thought that classified services as non-tradeables, Lamy said it is outdated because the world is interconnected as never before and services have outgrown national borders. It is also outdated by the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), which created a new paradigm for international trade in services.

The WTO chief asked if anybody could have predicted that world exports in services would come close to 2.8 trillion dollars in 2006. Even this large sum underestimates the real size of services trade since international trade statistics simply do not cover all trade in services as defined by the GATS, he added. Lamy pointed out that today, more than half of annual world foreign direct investment flows are in services.

Global FDI inflows soared to 1,306 billion dollars in 2006, a report released today by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said.

Stating that no economy can prosper without an efficient services infrastructure, Lamy said a recent study on the Indian economy has found that when many services sectors were gradually opened during the 1990s, their contribution to the growth of Indian manufacturing output increased from about one per cent to 25 per cent.


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