[Federal Register Volume 66, Number 248 (Thursday, December 27, 2001)]
[Pages 66963-66964]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 01-31795]



Request for Comments Concerning Compliance With 
Telecommunications Trade Agreements

AGENCY: Office of the United States Trade Representative

ACTION: Request for written submissions from the public.


SUMMARY: Pursuant to section 1377 of the Omnibus Trade and 
Competitiveness Act of 1988 (19 U.S.C. 3106) (``Section 1377''), the 
Office of the United States Trade Representative (``USTR'') requests 
comments on: the operation and effectiveness of the World Trade 
Organization (``WTO'') Basic

[[Page 66964]]

Telecommunications Agreement; the telecommunications provisions of the 
North American Free Trade Agreement (``NAFTA''); and, other 
telecommunications trade agreements in force with respect to the United 
States, including those with the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation 
(``APEC'') members, the European Union (``EU''), the Inter-American 
Telecommunications Commission (``CITEL''), Japan, Korea, Mexico and 
Taiwan. The USTR will conclude the review by March 31, 2002.

DATES: Submissions must be received by 12 noon on January 28, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Gloria Blue, Executive Secretary, Trade Policy Staff 
Committee, ATTN: Section 1377 Comments, Office of the United States 
Trade Representative, 600 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20508

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kenneth Schagrin, Office of Industry 
and Telecommunications (202) 395-5663; or Demetrios Marantis, Office of 
the General Counsel (202) 395-7305.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 1377 requires the USTR 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 an 
economy 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, within the context of the terms of such 
agreements, mutually advantageous market opportunities. For the current 
review, the USTR seeks comments on whether:
    (1) any WTO Member is acting inconsistently with commitments under 
the WTO Basic Telecommunications Agreement (including the WTO Reference 
Paper) or with other WTO obligations (including the Annex on 
Telecommunications), in a manner that affects market opportunities for 
U.S. telecommunications products and services;
    (2) Canada or Mexico has failed to comply with NAFTA 
telecommunications commitments (including under Chapters 11, 12, and 13 
of that agreement);
    (3) APEC or CITEL members, the EU, Japan, Korea, Mexico or Taiwan 
have failed to abide by commitments under additional telecommunications 
agreements with the United States.\1\

    \1\ These agreements include:
     Mutual Recognition Agreements for conformity assessment 
of telecommunications equipment with the EU (1997), APEC countries 
(1998), and CITEL countries (1999) and
     Bilateral Agreements with:
    Japan: on Nippon Telegraph and Telephone procurement (1999); 
public sector procurement of telecommunications products and 
services (1994); international value-added network services (1990-
91); open government procurement of all satellites, except for 
government research and development satellites (1990); network 
channel terminating equipment (1990); and cellular and third-party 
radio systems (1989) and cellular radio systems (1994);
    Korea: on type approval of telecommunications equipment (1992/
1996), transparent standard-setting processes (1992/1997), and non-
discriminatory access to Korea Telecommunication's procurement of 
telecommunications products (1992/1996);
    Mexico: on test data acceptance agreements between product 
safety testing laboratories (1997); and
    Taiwan: interconnection pricing for provision of wireless 
services (1998) and, licensing and provision of wireless services 
through the establishment of a competitive, transparent and fair 
wireless market (1996).

    (4) outstanding issues remains from the 2000-2001 review conducted 
under Section 1377.\2\

    \2\ See USTR Press Release 01-20 (available at www.ustr.gov) for 
detailed information of the results of the 2000-2001 Section 1377 
review, which considered practices of Colombia, Mexico, Japan, South 
Africa, and Taiwan as well as five EU Member States (France, 
Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom).

    For further details on these agreements, please see 63 FR 1140 
(January 8, 1998).

Public Comment: Requirements for Submissions

    The USTR invites submissions concerning the operation and 
effectiveness of the WTO Basic Telecommunications Agreement; the NAFTA; 
and other telecommunications trade agreements in force with respect to 
the United States, including those with APEC members, CITEL members, 
the EU, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Taiwan.
    Interested persons must provide fifteen copies of any submission, 
in English, to Gloria Blue, Office of the United States Trade 
Representative, by noon on January 23, 2002. Interested parties must 
also identify on the first page of the comments the telecommunications 
trade agreement(s) discussed therein.
    All comments will be placed in the USTR Reading Room for inspection 
shortly after the filing deadline, except business confidential 
information exempt from public inspection in accordance with 15 CFR 
2003.6. Confidential information submitted in accordance with 15 CFR 
2003.6, must be clearly marked ``BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL'' in a 
contrasting color ink at the top of each page on each of 15 copies, and 
must be accompanied by 15 copies of a non-confidential summary of the 
confidential information. The non-confidential summary will be placed 
in the USTR Public Reading Room.
    An appointment to review the comments may be made by calling Brenda 
Webb at (202) 395-6186. The USTR Reading Room is open to the public 
from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon, and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, and is located in Room 3 of 1724 F Street, N.W.

Carmen Suro-Bredie,
Chair, Trade Policy Staff Committee.
[FR Doc. 01-31795 Filed 12-26-01; 8:45 am]