8th Global Economic Summit at World Trade Center Mumbai
South Asia trade pact on services need strategic changes, remarks Mr. Ameer
“The world that we live in today is more prosperous than ever before with the benefits of openness being felt at all levels of society in almost all corners of the world. Standards of living have risen and over a billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty over the last thirty years. However, it is alarming to see signs of possible deviation from international cooperation and integration. We are facing challenges to the rule based trading system. Rejecting international integration is not a solution, as foregoing the potential gains from trade that can still be repeated equates to condemning millions,” warned Mr. Ibrahim Ameer, Hon’ble Minister of Finance, Government of Maldives at the inaugural session of the 8th Global Economic Summit on ‘Services: Enabler of Growth for Trade and Industry’.
The Summit is organized by MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai and All India Association of Industries.
Speaking about potential for cooperation among South Asian countries in the services sector, the minister said, “South Asian region, with a population of more than 1.8 billion people, is the world’s largest market. Although South Asian countries have signed agreement in trade in services, this agreement is not working effectively. Therefore, strategic changes are required to utilize the agreement to full potential,” the minister added.
Speaking on this occasion, Dr. Aaditya Mattoo, Research Manager, Trade and International Integration, Development Research Group, World Bank said, “India must adopt an innovative approach to international cooperation in services sector. Such an approach calls for negotiating domestic regulatory reforms to satisfy the interest of consumers in our import partners and securing reciprocal cooperation from foreign countries in other regulatory areas.”
Speaking about employment creation in service sector, Dr. Mattoo said, “Availability of skilled labour is the critical factor for productivity in services sector. When it comes to job creation in the service sector, skill scarcity is a greater problem than skill intensity. In order to promote skill development, government must encourage competition, remove burdensome regulation and introduce progressive policies in higher education.”
“At a time when Government of India is aiming to double services exports to USD 300 billion by 2022, this theme on ‘services as enabler of growth’ is of paramount importance. While many have questioned India’s development pattern, leapfrogging from the primary to tertiary sector, the need of the hour is to tap our full potential in services while we continue to remove constraints to the growth of the other sectors. As we move ahead in developing the service sector, we must consider three crucial points viz. services are not to be seen in isolation, 2. Services can provide impetus to and can benefit growth of MSMEs, 3. Services will play a critical transformational role in the Industry 4.0,” said Dr. Rupa Chanda, RBI Chair Professor of Economics, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.
Dr. Robert B. Koopman, Chief Economic and Director, Economic Research and Statistics Division, World Trade Organisation remarked, “Although services accounts for only 22% of world trade, this understates the importance of this sector to the economy. Services sector contributes 49% of world trade in value added terms and it accounts for 50% of world employment. Efficient service sector plays an important role in enhancing competitiveness of agriculture and manufacturing sectors in an economy. Services such as logistics and finance are crucial ingredient for trade in goods. Advancement in information and communication technologies will reduce cost of service trade across borders.”
Speaking about services trade in the age of technology advancement, Dr. Koopman said, “In recent years, trade in computer services, intellectual property services and other commercial services have gained more importance than traditional services such as travel and transport. India tops in the export of computer services after the European Union.”
During the event, Mr. Scott Ferguson, Chief Executive Officer, World Trade Centers Association New York explained how the global network of WTC family is internationalizing local SMEs in this period of protectionist measures.”
Earlier in his welcome address, Mr. Kamal Morarka, Chairman, MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai said, “The 8th Global Economic Summit received overwhelming response from around 400 delegates from 27 countries despite the looming tension in India’s border as the country is the preferred investment destination in the world. The theme of this Summit is very crucial as services account for more than 50% of India’s GDP and it contributes significantly to employment and exports. India offers two major advantages for foreign investors viz. large market and a sound democracy. India has an independent judicial system and rule of law, where entrepreneurs can thrive. I am sure the Summit will generate fruitful ideas and policy recommendations to promote India’s competitiveness in the services industry.”
During the Session, Dr. Harshadeep Kamble, I.A.S.. Secretary (Small & Medium Industries) & Development Commissioner (Industries) Government of Maharashtra announced the new industrial policy of Government of Maharashtra. The policy aims to promote employment and exports from the state by supporting micro, small and medium enterprises. The policy envisages single window system for statutory approvals and aims to develop Maharashtra into a USD 1 trillion economy by 2022.
Proposing vote of thanks for the event, Mr. Vijay Kalantri, President, All India Association of Industries (AIAI) remarked, “MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai and AIAI are working closely with multilateral organizations such as WTO on issues such as intellectual property rights and trade facilitation to promote trade and industry. India is already the fastest growing economy with annual growth of 7.2%. The pace of growth can be enhanced further to 10% with better adoption of technology by industry. I am confident that this Summit will generate fruitful discussion to take the Indian economy to a higher growth orbit.”
The inaugural session was also addressed by Mr. Pascal Kerneis, Managing Director, European Services Forum.
The three-day Summit is supported by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Ministry of MSME and other departments of the central government and some state governments.
The inaugural session of the Summit was attended by more than 400 Indian and international delegates representing trade and industry, consular corps, academic institutions and think tanks, among others.
During the inaugural session, distinguished delegates released Handbook on ‘Services: Enabler of Growth for Trade and Industry’. The Handbook is a compilation of articles and case studies from experts in the field of services industry.
Photo Caption: Distinguished dignitaries lighting lamp at the 8th Global Economic Summit in MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai. (From Left to Right) Mr. Pascal Kerneis, Managing Director, European Services Forum, Mr. Scott Ferguson, Chief Executive Officer, World Trade Centers Association New York, Dr. Robert B. Koopman, Chief Economic and Director, Economic Research and Statistics Division, World Trade Organisation, Mr. Kamal Morarka, Chairman, MVIRDC World Trade Center Mumbai, Mr. Jacek Sutryk, Mayor of Wroclaw, Poland, Mr. Ibrahim Ameer, Hon’ble Minister of Finance, Government of Maldives, Dr. Harshadeep Kamble, I.A.S.. Secretary (Small & Medium Industries) & Development Commissioner (Industries) Government of Maharashtra, Dr. Rupa Chanda, RBI Chair Professor of Economics, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, Dr. Aaditya Mattoo, Research Manager, Trade and International Integration, Development Research Group, World Bank, Mr. Vijay Kalantri, President, All India Association of Industries (AIAI)