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CAs gear up to defend their own turf

New Delhi, Feb. 11: India is planning to negotiate at the next few rounds of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks so that professional bodies like the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) remain in control of their respective professions even after GATS (General Agreement in Trade and Services) is signed.

Chartered accountants have been concerned that national regulatory institutions like the ICAI may cease to exist after 2005 when the GATS comes into effect.

“The role of the national institutions will not get diluted after GATS,”said R. Bupathy, the newly-appointed president of the apex professional and regulatory body for chartered accountants.

The department of company affairs (DCA) had constituted a working group headed by the chairman of the committee on trade laws (CTL) and WTO to prepare a request list in the accountancy sector for consideration by the government for the ongoing WTO negotiations. It has already submitted its first report to the DCA.

Giving his vision for the role of the national regulatory institution in the post-GATS era, Bupathy said, “Chartered accountant members registered with ICAI will have to discharge their duties as per the norm...If they do not do so, national bodies will continue to have regulatory mechanism to pull them down and make them comply with the regulations.”

The working group to prepare the request list in the accountancy sector included members from the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI), Institute of Cost and Work Accountants of India(ICWAI), ministry of commerce, Bar Council of India and the leading industrial chambers.

Farm focus

India will focus on agriculture and public health concerns over TRIPs (trade-related intellectual property rights) at the three-day WTO mini-ministerial meet beginning on Friday in Tokyo.

The India delegation will be led by commerce minister Arun Jaitley and agriculture minister Ajit Singh. Commerce secretary Deepak Chatterjee and senior officials will accompany them.

The objective of the meeting is to see how much progress can be made in taking forward the Doha work programme at the next WTO conference to be held at Cancun in Mexico during September this year. About 24 countries are expected to participate in the meeting. These include the US, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, European Commission, Malaysia, Kenya and Korea.

The agenda of the meeting will include market access-related issues covering agriculture as well as non-agricultural products and services.

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