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World Bank pep talk for the rich

New Delhi, Sept. 3: The World Bank today surprisingly asked the developed West to work out a deal at the trade talks slated to be held next week at Cancun which would see a relaxation of the restrictions on body shopping of IT and medical professionals from countries like India to the US and Europe.

In its report, Global Economic Prospects, the World Bank also asked rich countries to reduce agriculture protection, cut down tariff on farm products and manufactures by countries like India and Bangladesh which were labour intensive.

The report said that “if temporary movement of (skilled) labour up to 3 per cent of the total labour force in rich countries were permitted, developing countries would stand to gain as much as $160 billion in additional incomes.”

It advocated a deal which could see rich countries cutting tariff on farm products by 10 per cent and by 5 per cent in manufactures in general and a greater cut on labour intensive manufactures, end export subsidies to their farm produce, scrap quotas on textiles and reduce the use of anti-dumping measures.

Advising developing countries to reciprocate with a 15 per cent cut in agriculture and a 10 per cent cut in manufacturing subsidies, the Bank report claimed this formula could result in developing countries gaining an additional $350 billion in incomes by 2015. It said the current practice of trade preference hardly helps people with incomes of less than $1 a day, most of whom were living in China, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Nigeria and Asean countries.

Reacting to the World Bank report, Indian finance ministry officials said the cuts being demanded of the developing world in manufactures had to be phased.

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