[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 220 (Tuesday, November 17, 2009)]
[Pages 59339-59340]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-27561]



Request for Comments Concerning Compliance With 
Telecommunications Trade Agreements

AGENCY: Office of the United States Trade Representative.

ACTION: Notice of request for public comment and reply comment.


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'') is 
reviewing and requests comments on: The operation, effectiveness, and 
implementation of and compliance with the following agreements 
regarding telecommunications products and services of the United 
States: the World Trade Organization (``WTO'') General Agreement on 
Trade in Services; the North American Free Trade Agreement (``NAFTA''); 
U.S. free trade agreements (``FTAs'') with Australia, Bahrain, Chile, 
Morocco, Oman, Peru, and Singapore; and the Dominican Republic-Central 
America-United States Free Trade Agreement (``CAFTA-DR''). The USTR 
will conclude the review by March 31, 2010.

DATES: Comments are due by noon on December 11, 2009 and reply comments 
by noon on January 15, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Gloria Blue, Executive Secretary, Trade Policy Staff 
Committee, ATTN: Section 1377 Comments, Office of the United States 
Trade Representative, 1724 F Street, NW., Washington, DC 20508.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Catherine Hinckley, Office of Services 
and Investment (202) 395-9539; or Amy Karpel, Office of the General 
Counsel (202) 395-3150.

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 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 an FTA or other telecommunications trade agreement with 
the United States is inconsistent with the terms of such agreement or 
otherwise denies U.S. firms, within the context of the terms of such 
agreements, mutually advantageous market opportunities for 
telecommunications products and services. For the current review, the 
USTR seeks comments on:
    (1) 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 
Basic Telecommunications Agreement, the Annex on Telecommunications, 
and any scheduled commitments including the Reference Paper on Pro-
Competitive Regulatory Principles;
    (2) Whether Canada or Mexico has failed to comply with its 
telecommunications obligations under the NAFTA;
    (3) Whether Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, 
Guatemala, Honduras or Nicaragua has failed to comply with its 
telecommunications obligations under the CAFTA-DR;
    (4) Whether Australia, Bahrain, Chile, Morocco, Oman, Peru, or 
Singapore has failed to comply with its telecommunications obligations 
under the respective FTA between the United States and that country 
(see http://www.ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements for 
U.S. FTAs);
    (5) 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 (see http://ts.nist.gov/standards/conformity/mra/mra.cfm) for a collection of trade agreements 
related, inter alia, to telecommunications);
    (6) Whether any act, policy, or practice of a country cited in a 
previous section 1377 review remains unresolved (see http://www.ustr.gov/trade-topics/services-investment/telecom-e-commerce/section-1377-review for the most recent reviews); and
    (7) Whether any measures or practices impede access to 
telecommunications markets or otherwise deny telecommunications 
products and services market opportunities with respect to any country 
that is a WTO member or for which an FTA or telecommunications trade 
agreement has entered into force between such country and the United 
States. Measures or practices of interest include, for example, 
prohibitions on voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) services; 
requirements for access to or use of networks that limit the products 
or services U.S. suppliers can offer in specific markets; the 
imposition of excessively high licensing fees; discriminatory 
procedures for allocation and use of spectrum or other scarce

[[Page 59340]]

resources; and the imposition of unnecessary or discriminatory 
technical regulations or standards in the telecommunications product or 
services sectors.

Public Comment and Reply Comment: Requirements for Submission

    Comments in response to this notice must be written in English, 
must identify (on the first page of the comments) the 
telecommunications trade agreement(s) discussed therein, and must be 
submitted electronically by 5 p.m. on December 11, 2009. Reply comments 
must also be in English and must be submitted by 5 p.m. on January 15, 
2010. Comments and reply comments, with the exception of business 
confidential comments, must be submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, docket number USTR-2009-0038. Instructions for 
submitted business confidential versions are provided below. In the 
unusual case where submitters are unable to make submissions through 
Regulations.gov, the submitter must contact Gloria Blue at (202) 395-
3475 to make alternate arrangements.
    To submit comments using http://www.regulations.gov, enter docket 
number USTR-2009-0038 on the home page and click ``Search''. The site 
will provide a search-results page listing all documents associated 
with this docket. Locate the reference to this notice by selecting 
``Notices'' under ``Document Type'' on the search-results page, and 
click on the link entitled ``Send a Comment.'' Follow the instructions 
given on the screen to submit a comment. The http://www.regulations.gov 
website offers the option of providing comments by filling in a ``Type 
Comment'' field or by attaching a document. While both options are 
acceptable, USTR prefers submissions in the form of an attachment.

Business Confidential Submissions

    Persons wishing to submit business confidential information must 
submit that information by fax to (202) 395-3891. Business confidential 
submissions will not be accepted at http://regulations.gov. The 
submitter must include in the comments a written explanation of why the 
information should be protected in accordance with 15 CFR 2007.7(b). In 
addition, a non-confidential version of the comments must be submitted 
to http://www.regulations.gov, docket number USTR-2009-0038. The 
submission must indicate, with asterisks, where confidential 
information was redacted or deleted. The top and bottom of each page of 
the non-confidential version must be marked either ``PUBLIC VERSION'' 
    Business confidential comments that are submitted without the 
required markings or that do not have a properly marked non-
confidential version submitted to regulations.gov as set forth above 
may not be accepted or may be treated as public documents.
    Submitters should provide updated information on all issues they 
cite in their filings; USTR will not review submissions that are copies 
of earlier submissions.

Carmen Suro-Bredie,
Chair, Trade Policy Staff Committee.
[FR Doc. E9-27561 Filed 11-16-09; 8:45 am]