General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)

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Chapter: Forensic Pharmacy : WTO, GATS and The Indian Patents Act, 1970 with Amendments

The Indian delegation at WTO has submitted revised offer in August 2005 in the ongoing negotiations under GATS.

General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)

The Indian delegation at WTO has submitted revised offer in August 2005 in the ongoing negotiations under GATS.

The offers were initially made in the Doha Round in sectors/sub-sectors covered in the commitments made in Uruguay Round. The seven sectors of services covered were-

(i) Health related and social services

(ii) Tourism and travel related services

(iii) Communication services

(iv) Financial services

(v) Business services

(vi) Construction & related engineering services and

(vii) Transport services

The revised offer includes four other sectors which were not covered earlier. These services are -

·           Distribution services

·           Education services

·           Environmental services and

·           Cultural, sporting and recreational services.

GATS provides for four modes of supply of services.

Mode 1 - Cross-border supply

Mode 2 - Consumption abroad

Mode 3 - Commercial presence

Mode 4 - Presence / movement of natural persons

India and many other developing countries in Modes I and 4. The Mode 4 interest is due to the presence of a large skilled and competitive workforce. It will enable India to take advantage of Mode 1 due to core competence is Information Technology related services.

India had already made a substantial Mode 4 initial offer by including all categories of natural per~ons including independent professionals.

The sector of Business Services cover medical and dental services, services provided by nurses, midwives, pharmacists, physiotherapists and other paramedical services are included. The Section 3 offered includes higher education services.

India spends only 0.9 percent of its GDP on health care in public sector forcing the majority of the people to turn to private health systems that are often beyond their reach. The Indian Government has recognized health as an inalienable human right that every individual can claim. So long as wide health inequalities exist in our country and access to essential health care is not universally assured, it is feared that we would fall short in both economic planning and in our moral obligations to all citizens.

The developments in post-WTO era related to new patent regime and GATS should be accepted as challenges and converted in to opportunities to further strengthen our infrastructure of pharmaceutical industries and their R&D set-up and also global exploitation and utilization of our professional services and skills.

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