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India’s proposal to lower the cost of cross-border remittances has found support from many World Trade Organization members including the European Union, officials said. Except for the US, most countries have favoured a work programme at the WTO for cheaper, faster and more accessible cross-border payments including remittances.

Separately, Indonesia has backed New Delhi’s proposal to reinvigorate the work under the Work Programme on Electronic Commerce, which requires structured discussion on trade-related issues over global e-commerce, taking into account the economic, financial and development needs of developing countries.

Last week, New Delhi pushed for promoting interoperability and interlinkages of digital payment infrastructure including fast payment systems to lower transaction costs.

“There is widespread support for our proposal. Except for the US, most members have lent support,” said an official.

Identifying challenges
The Philippines and South Africa have also favoured such disciplines.

Lower transaction costs are key to reducing inequality within and among countries, especially in developing countries such as India, since the global average cost for sending remittances is 6.18%, more than twice the target to lower them below 3% under Sustainable Development Goals.

As per the proposal, the work programme should review the cost of cross-border remittances, trends and developments, and consider how technology, emergence of new market players, different types of providers and new channels, and consumer behaviour are impacting the cross-border remittance services.

India has also proposed that the work programme examine the drivers of cost of cross-border remittances and challenges associated with reducing it, and identify the opportunities created for lowering the cost of cross-border remittances due to digitalisation and emergence of new technologies.

New Delhi has insisted that the work programme on e-commerce is continuing and there is no need for a Joint Statement Initiative negotiation among a few members on this.

India has said that the higher complexity of the online environment and its related risks presented new and higher challenges to consumers which must be jointly addressed by countries owing to the rapid growth of cross-border e-commerce.

“Consumer protection is key for us and we are looking at it in each phase of a commercial transaction, including pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase,” the official added.

  • Published On Feb 27, 2024 at 01:30 PM IST

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