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USTR Seeks Input on U.S. Telecommunications Trade Agreements

New York, Dec 04, 2006

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is seeking public comment on the operation, effectiveness, and implementation of U.S. trade agreements with respect to telecommunications products and services of the United States. Under the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, the USTR is required to conduct an annual review of all such trade agreements to ensure that U.S. firms benefit from mutually advantageous market opportunities.

For its current review, the USTR is seeking comments on:

  • Whether any WTO member is acting in a manner that is inconsistent with its obligations under WTO agreements affecting market opportunities for telecommunications products or services, e.g., the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), including the Annex on Telecommunications and any scheduled commitments including the Reference Paper on Pro-Competitive Regulatory Principles;

  • Whether Canada or Mexico has failed to comply with its telecommunications obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA);

  • Whether El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras or Nicaragua have failed to comply with their telecommunications obligations under the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR);

  • Whether Australia, Bahrain, Chile, Morocco, Singapore, or any other country for which an FTA with the United States has entered into force on or before January 1, 2007, has failed to comply with its telecommunications obligations under the respective FTA between the United States and that country;

  • Whether any country has failed to comply with its obligations under telecommunications trade agreements with the United States other than FTAs, e.g., Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) for Conformity Assessment of Telecommunications Equipment. A collection of trade agreements, including ones related to telecommunications, is located at;

  • Whether any act, policy, or practice of a country cited in a previous review remains unresolved. The 2006 review of telecommunications trade agreements can be found here;

  • Whether any measures or practices impede access to telecommunications markets or deny U.S. telecommunications products and services. Such measures or practices may include prohibitions on voice over the Internet (VOIP) services; blocking of websites or web-based services accessed through public telecommunications services; and requirements for access or use of networks that limit the products or services U.S. suppliers can offer in specific markets.

In order to ensure the timely receipt and consideration of comments, submissions should be sent electronically to Comments are due by noon by December 15, 2006; reply comments addressing issues raised in initial comments must be received by noon on January 16, 2007. The USTR will conclude its review by March 31, 2007.

All non-confidential comments and reply comments will be posted on the USTR website ( and in the USTR Reading Room shortly after the comment closing dates. For details on submission requirements, please view the Federal Register notice.

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