ANSI - American National Standards Institute
 Print this article  Previous Next 

USTR Requests for Comments on Foreign Trade Barriers and Telecommunications Trade Agreements


New York, Dec 03, 2004

Two Federal Register notices issued by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) are requesting comments concerning compliance with the annual National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers and telecommunications trade agreements, respectively.

Foreign Trade Barriers
Pursuant to section 303 of the Trade and Tariff Act of 1984, the USTR is required to publish annually the National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE). According to the November 24, 2004, Federal Register notice, the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) is requesting interested parties to assist it in identifying significant barriers to U.S. exports of goods, services and overseas direct investment for inclusion in the NTE. Particularly important are impediments materially affecting the actual and potential financial performance of an industry sector.

The TPSC invites written comments that provide views relevant to the issues to be examined in preparing the NTE. The information submitted should relate to one or more of the following ten categories of foreign trade barriers:

  • Import policies
  • Standards, testing, labeling, and certification
  • Government procurement
  • Export subsidies
  • Lack of intellectual property protection
  • Services barriers
  • Investment barriers
  • Anticompetitive practices with trade effects tolerated by foreign governments
  • Trade restrictions affecting electronic commerce
  • Other barriers

In order to ensure the most timely processing of submissions, the Department of Commerce will receive the public comments, due not later than Tuesday, December 21, 2004 (ntecomments@ita.doc.gov). For more information on requirements for comment submission, view the original Federal Register notice (click here).

Telecommunications Trade Agreements
Pursuant to section 1377 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, the USTR is required to review annually the operation and effectiveness of all U.S. trade agreements regarding telecommunications products and services of the United States that are in force with respect to the United States. The purpose of the review is to determine whether any act, policy, or practice of a country that has entered into a telecommunications trade agreement with the United States is inconsistent with the terms of such agreement, or otherwise denies to U.S. firms mutually advantageous market opportunities. The USTR will conclude the review by March 31, 2005.

According to the Federal Register notice, the USTR requests comments on the following:

  • Whether any WTO member is acting in a manner that is inconsistent with its commitments under the WTO Basic Telecommunications Agreement or with other WTO obligations, e.g., the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), including the Annex on Telecommunications and the Reference Paper on Pro-Competitive Regulatory Principles, that affect market opportunities for U.S. telecommunications products and services;
  • Whether Canada or Mexico has failed to comply with their telecommunications commitments or obligations under NAFTA;
  • Whether Chile or Singapore or any other FTA partner with an Agreement that comes into force on or before January 1, 2005 has failed to comply with their telecommunications commitments or obligations under the respective FTAs between the United States and those countries;
  • Whether other countries have failed to comply with their commitments under additional telecommunications agreements with the United States, e.g., Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) for Conformity Assessment of Telecommunications Equipment. A collection of all trade agreements, including ones related to telecommunications, can be found at http://www.tcc.mac.doc.gov.
  • Whether there remain outstanding issues from previous Section 1377 reviews on those countries or issues previously cited. Last year's review can be found here.

Comments should be submitted electronically to fr0502@ustr.eop.gov and are due by noon on December 17, 2004. For more information on requirements for comment submission, view the original Federal Register notice (click here).

ANSI Focus on Services Standards