18 February 2004, Times of India

JAIPUR, FEB 18: Britain on Monday refuted suggestions that its was trying to be protectionist on the issue of business process outsourcing and favoured dismantling all barriers to free trade.

Delivering a lecture on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at the state Institute of Public Administration here, British High Commissioner Michael Arthur said: “It is our experience that 75 per cent of British workers rendered jobless due to outsourcing find jobs within six months.”

He suggested free trade by abolishing all barriers by adopting the WTO regime and sought faster pace for efforts to go in for further rounds of talks leaving behind the failure of the Cancun talks.

Although the momentum for further talks had definitely been seen again agriculture was still a stumbling block, he admitted.

However, he warned that a second Cancun-type failure would be “devastating” and all should go forward progressively.

Supporting an “asymmetrical liberalization” in the agriculture sector to tackle the concerns of countries like India, Arther said it should be transitional and not structural.

Talking about India and Mexico leading the G-25 nations at the WTO talks, Arthur said it was a healthy reflection of reality.

“However, don’t waste time and despite hurdles, regenerate the momentum for the breakthrough at the ministerial-level meeting in the current year itself,” the high commissioner added.