Page 76 - IACC Newsletter March 2013 Issue no. 9

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US trade mission under cloud for breaching WTO norms
An American trade mission due to commence on Monday, for exploring business opportunities in the infrastructure sector,
has come under a cloud. This follows a communication from the commerce ministry to its counterpart in the US that the
mission fell afoul of the WTO framework under which architects could be provided market access in each other's country
only after a bilateral agreement relating to them had been signed.
The absence of such a bilateral agreement could have been similarly held against other infrastructure-related professionals
such as civil engineers, town planners and builders, who are all included in the trade mission. If the government still
expressed concern only about architects, it was because, among the various professionals associated with the infrastructure
sector, they alone have a statutory regulator in India.
It was at the instance of the regulator, Council of Architecture (CoA) that the commerce ministry issued an office
memorandum on January 24, affirming that the presence of architects in the impending trade mission was impermissible as
India and US were yet to arrive at a "reciprocal arrangement". Recalling that another delegation had already visited India in
October, the memorandum said that the matter be taken up with the US administration so that any "further violation of the
existing regulatory framework does not take place by the forthcoming visit of the US trade mission to solicit architectural
business in India".
But the US embassy, when contacted, denied that the trade missions violated any norms. Its spokesperson Meghan E McGill
said: "Trade missions include briefings and meetings to ensure that the U.S. participants understand the business and
regulatory environment, including the relevant laws and regulations governing their business sector, such as the Architects
Act, 1972, in the case of this mission. The participants are expected to comply with all applicable laws and regulations,
whether of the United States or the foreign market."
The bilateral agreement, which is required to be signed in terms of the 1995 General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS),
will specify the mode of delivery of each of the professional services and the number of "natural persons" who can be
exchanged.
Indian-American scientist honored by Obama
U.S President Barack Obama presenting the prestigious National Medal of Technology and Innovation to Indian-American Rangaswamy
Srinivasan for his work in the field of laser technology
Indian-American scientist Rangaswamy Srinivasan was presented the prestigious National Medal of Technology and
Innovation by US President Barack Obama for his pioneering work with laser. Rangaswamy received the award along with
Samuel Blum and James Wynne, for the discovery of excimer laser ablative photodecomposition of human and animal
tissue, laying the foundation for PRK and LASIK laser refractive surgical techniques that have revolutionized vision
enhancement.
Ten extraordinary inventors received 2011 National Medal of Technology and Innovation by Obama, the highest honors
bestowed by the United States Government upon scientists, engineers, and inventors. Established in 1980, the National