Agreement on Movement of Natural Person


  • 1. Movement of natural persons is one mode of supply of (trade in) services as agreed in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) but remains a contentious area with little progress.
  • 2. The existing commitments suffer from lack of clarity and uniformity in some aspects.
  • 3. The commitments on personnel are either not well defined or differ widely in their scope and coverage. They are restrictive allowing no predictable market access in the sectors of interest.
  • 4. On the other hand there is a definite demand in the developed world for skilled and unskilled workers in several sectors, including actual movement happening both legally and illegally.


  • 1. To avail gains from relatively strong comparative advantage due to abundance of skilled and unskilled labour.
  • 2. Most critically, counter the demands for an agreement investment, even proposing a plurilateral agreement as a fitting response to similar demands on investment and competition
  • 3. Counter the sustainable development arguments (trade and environment, and trade and labour standards) by reference to the throwaway culture, incohesive society and subsequent high cost in the North for people by making the availability of contractual labour at low costs.
  • 4. Engage the rich countries in homework by putting forward a proactive agenda, putting them into a defensive position.


  • 1. Draft a paper on the need for a stand-alone agreement on movement of natural persons through trade visas, and gather consensus through discussions with allies.
  • 2. After gaining some support, submit the paper at the informal gatherings in Geneva. Simultaneously feed into the Track-II process through groups such as CII, FICCI (and the various bilateral commissions) and CUTS, so that it can be fed into the circles of influence.
  • 3. Push it into the draft Doha ministerial declaration, which has been targeted for being completed by July 2001.
  • 4. In the meanwhile draft an agreement, based on negative list approach with sector-specific transition period for developing and least developed countries, and discuss it among the like-minded group of countries.