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  “International Conference on Services Trade in Selected Sectors”  
IIFT organized a two day conference on 18th & 19th January 2012 on Trade in selected service sectors in Asia in collaboration with OECD and ADBI . The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the regulatory environment in which service providers operate and the trade barriers that confront them in Asian markets. The meeting focussed on audiovisual services, higher education, and financial services sector. These are three sectors with a large trade potential but so far there is scant research and analysis on the nature of the trade policy environment in countries in Asia. The 2-day deliberations focussed on three services sectors that are among the most important emerging sectors in global trade and investment and which have attracted little attention so far. The conference also emphasized the importance of Asia, which is increasingly becoming the centre of global economic activities. India is also an important player in this sector. The region has witnessed remarkable growth during the last couple of decades, and the Asian economy is already similar in size of Europe and North America
Services trade is an important part of overall global trade. For example, notwithstanding the well known underestimation of services exports, ASEAN's service exports to China and India have been strong, at an average annualized growth rate of 29% and 26%, respectively. Intra-ASEAN trade in services has also been growing rapidly, although at a noticeably slower pace of 16% per year.

Developing countries in Asia account for 75 per cent of all developing countries’ services trade. Top 15 services exporters from developing country account for 80 per cent of all developing countries’ services exports. Service sector is also major destination of inward FDI in these countries. This data shows that the trade in services has a vital role in shaping the structure of developing economies in particular.

Even the economy of developed countries significantly depends for their export of services upon Asia and the Pacific. India is now geared up to explore more of such possibilities of bilateral and multilateral cooperation to enhance the level of variety in her services offerings. In recent times India has taken steps to increase their service exports unilaterally or through regional agreement on services. Some of the recent agreements related to services are India-Malaysia and India –Japan Agreements.

India is increasingly specializing and exporting non-IT based services too. Growth in exports of Business Services, Financial Services, audiovisual, Travel, Tourism, Health and Transport services are identified to be upbeat in the services. India is now more considerate and accomplished to propose south-south solution to the challenges in services sector with help of large pool of her young professionals, indigenous technology and management practices.

The dynamics of the services sector is better appreciated once one delves into sectoral studies. There, the regulatory challenges that are unique for each sector are better understood. General discussions on services can easily become abstract owing to the heterogeneity of the aggregate service sector. The unique modes of service delivery also open a better vista of how competition is hampered or facilitated through regulations. Conference aimed to understand the complexities concerned with these selected service sectors.

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