Integrating trade in education services between Australia and India: Complementarities and challenges

M. Rafiqul Islam, Shawkat Alam*, Pundarik Mukhopadhaya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: The multilateral liberalisation of trade in education under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) has achieved little progress. In a bid to overcome this lacklustre education trade liberalisation under the World Trade Organization (WTO), the purpose of this paper is to examine education trade bilateralism between Australia and India as an alternative to multilateralism. The end is to maximise bilateral trade liberalisation in education as a means to facilitate dynamic productivity gains, export opportunities, market competition, and FDI in the sector. The combined effect of this bilateralism would help accelerate economic growth in both countries, which is likely to generate domino effects on other WTO members, thereby contributing to the multilateral liberalisation of trade in services under the WTO. Design/methodology/approach: The research methodology is analytical, based on pertinent empirical and secondary information. Findings: Strong complementarities and synergies are found for the integration of trade in education services between Australia and India. Of the major exporters of education services, Australia enjoys the most competitive edge and comparative advantage in the Asia-Pacific. India faces strong demands for quality education services due to its economic reforms and expansion requiring knowledge-based workforce for high efficiency and productivity and has become a major importer of education services in the region. Originality/value: The paper identifies new means of consolidating Australia and India's existing trade, niche areas of further opportunities, and potential challenges to be confronted for greater economic integration through trade in education. The originality of the paper lies in its core message that education trade bilateralism can be a valuable stepping stone, in many instances, to multilateral trade in education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-147
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of International Trade Law and Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


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