ATA Opens 2 India Chapters

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The American Teleservices Association founded two local chapters in India, establishing its presence overseas for the first time, the organization said this week.


Offshore outsourcing was a contentious topic in last year's presidential election and has been a source of division in the teleservices industry, especially among small domestic call center providers that have had difficulty competing with cheaper offshore labor. However, the ATA said it hopes to ensure fair competition between offshore and domestic providers by encouraging compliance with U.S. teleservices law overseas.


The North-West India chapter is based in Mumbai while the South-East India chapter is based in Bangalore. By establishing overseas chapters, the ATA aims to bring the offshore segment of the industry into the fold, said Tim Searcy, CEO of the ATA.


"To date, we have not had a lot of vocal opposition to creating this," he said. "It's not that people want us to encourage business overseas, but they want us to make sure that business overseas is being done legally."


The ATA will continue to focus on calls to the United States and will not get involved in intra-India calling issues, Searcy said. The chapters will operate independently, as the ATA's U.S. chapters do, but all members have to follow the ATA's ethics and compliance guidelines.


The first two events held by the chapters will be Feb. 11-12 in Mumbai and Feb. 14-15 in Bangalore. Both will be titled, "Coming to America: The New Reality of Teleservices Compliance and Doing Business in the U.S." The ATA expects 100 or more attendees at each event, Searcy said.


During the debate over the national no-call list, the ATA argued that the teleservices industry provides valuable U.S. jobs. Searcy said he did not think that overseas chapters undermine that message.


"I want to see a healthy channel," he said. "The reality is that the channel is multinational."


The ATA's board of directors voted to create the chapters at the association's annual convention in October 2004, Searcy said. The chapters are being announced to coincide with the National Association of Software and Service Companies conference in Mumbai in February.


NASSCOM, as the organization is known, is India's IT and service company trade group. The ATA hopes to take advantage of NASSCOM's large audience and plans to attend the show, Searcy said.


Pradip Khemani, vice president of strategic accounts for GTL Limited, will serve as president of the North-West chapter. Prasad Vanga, account director of Valdel Xtent, will be president of the South-East chapter.


Scott Hovanyetz covers telemarketing, production and printing and direct response TV marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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