Agreement on Software and Services


    1. Software and services is one of the fastest growing sectors of the global economy, and India has a specific interest, so does the USA and EU. The value of global software exports is more than $100 billion and is increasing at a rapid rate.
    2. Software exports happen through three modes: products, technologies and services involving various dimensions:
    3. Tariff barriers
    4. Non-tariff barriers such as on movement of natural persons
    5. Standards
    6. Classification (software: technical services, intellectual property or contract?)
    7. Competition and consumer concerns (tie-up sales etc)
    8. Intellectual property rights (security, piracy, patent or copyright, trade mark and trade secrets)


    1. Need to bring in different dimensions under one rubric, and also address the problem of IPR definition: in the USA it is under utility patents, while in Europe and India it is treated as copyright. Potential conflict in the period of protection.
    2. Counter other discussions such as on investment, competition et al.
    3. Ensure better market access for Indian software products and services through a separate agreement and binding commitments.
    4. Engage other countries in homework by putting forward a proactive agenda, thus deflecting pressure on issues, which we are finding difficult.


    1. Draft a paper on why there should a separate agreement on trade in software and services and gather consensus through allies such as the USA
    2. Discuss the issue with like-minded group of countries and build up support. The like-minded group should include USA and the European Union, having more than 90 percent share of global software exports.
    3. Incorporate this into the first draft of the ministerial declaration, which is supposed to be ready in the month of July 2001.
    4. Draft an agreement by taking into account provisions relating to tariff and non-tariff barriers, intellectual property rights, competition issues etc, and discuss it among the allies.
    5. If necessary, argue for a plurilateral agreement rather than a multilateral one like the ITA agreement.