[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 235 (Friday, December 6, 2013)]
[Pages 73583-73584]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-29201]



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, 
Colombia, Korea, Morocco, Oman, Panama, Peru, and Singapore; the 
Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement 
(``CAFTA-DR''); and any other telecommunications trade agreements, such 
as Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) for Conformity Assessment of 
Telecommunications Equipment. The USTR will conclude the review by 
March 31, 2014.

DATES: Comments are due on January 3, 2014 and reply comments on 
January 24, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Submissions should be made via the Internet at 
www.regulations.gov docket number USTR-2013-0039. For alternatives to 
on-line submissions please contact Yvonne Jamison (202-395-3475). The 
public is strongly encouraged to file submissions electronically rather 
than by facsimile or mail.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jonathan McHale, Office of Services 
and Investment, (202) 395-9533; or Ashley Miller, Office of Market 
Access and Industrial Competitiveness, (202) 395-9476.

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 a trade agreement 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 
Agreement on Basic Telecommunications Services, the Annex on 
Telecommunications, and any scheduled commitments including the 
Reference Paper on Pro-Competitive Regulatory Principles; the WTO 
Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures; the WTO Agreement 
on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights; or the 
plurilateral WTO Agreement on Government Procurement.
    (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, Colombia, Korea, Morocco, 
Oman, Panama, Peru, or Singapore has failed to comply with its 
telecommunications obligations under its FTA with the United States 
(see http://www.ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements for 
links to 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 links to certain U.S. 
telecommunications MRAs);
    (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-ecommerce/section-1377-review for recent reviews); and
    (7) Whether any measures or practices of a country that is a WTO 
member or for which an FTA or telecommunications trade agreement has 
entered into force with respect to the United States impede access to 
its telecommunications markets or otherwise deny market opportunities 
to telecommunications products and services of United States firms. 
Measures or practices of interest include, for example, efforts by a 
foreign government or a telecommunications service provider to block 
services delivered over the Internet (including, but not limited to 
voice over Internet protocol services, social networking, and search 
services); requirements for access to or use of networks that limit the 
products or services U.S. suppliers

[[Page 73584]]

can offer in specific foreign markets; the imposition of excessively 
high licensing fees; unreasonable wholesale roaming rates that mobile 
telecommunications service suppliers in specific foreign markets charge 
U.S. suppliers that seek to supply international mobile roaming 
services to their U.S. customers; allocating access to spectrum or 
other scarce resources through discriminatory procedures or contingent 
on the purchase of locally-produced equipment; subsidies provided to 
equipment manufactures which are contingent upon exporting or local 
content, or have caused adverse effects to domestic equipment 
manufacturers and the imposition by foreign governments of unnecessary 
or discriminatory technical regulations or standards for 
telecommunications products or services. In all cases, commenters 
should provide any available documentary evidence, including relevant 
legal measures where available, translated into English where 
necessary, to facilitate evaluation.

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 no later than January 3, 2014. Any replies to comments 
submitted must also be in English and must be submitted no later than 
January 24, 2014. Comments and reply comments must be submitted using 
http://www.regulations.gov, docket number USTR-2013-0039. In the 
unusual case where submitters are unable to make submissions through 
regulations.gov, the submitter must contact Yvonne Jamison at (202) 
395-3475 to make alternate arrangements.
    To submit comments using http://www.regulations.gov, enter docket 
number USTR-2013-0039 under ``Key Word or ID'' 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, and click on ``Comment Now!'' Follow the instructions given on 
the screen to submit a comment. The http://www.regulations.gov Web site 
offers the option of providing comments by filling in a ``Type 
Comment'' field or by attaching a document using the ``Upload File(s) 
option. While both options are acceptable, USTR prefers submissions in 
the form of an attachment. If you attach a comment, it is sufficient to 
type ``see attached'' in the comment section. Please do not attach 
separate cover letters to electronic submissions; rather, include any 
information that might appear in a cover letter in the comments 
themselves. Similarly, to the extent possible, please include any 
exhibits, annexes, or other attachments in the same file as the 
submission itself, not as separate files. (For further information on 
using the www.regulations.gov Web site, please consult the resources 
provided on the Web site by clicking on ``How to Use This Site'' on the 
left side of the home page.)
    Submitters should provide updated information on all issues they 
cite in their filings; USTR will not review submissions that are copies 
of earlier submissions.

Business Confidential Submissions

    For any comments submitted electronically containing business 
confidential information, the file name of the business confidential 
version should begin with the characters ``BC''. The top of any page 
containing business confidential information must be clearly marked 
``BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL''. Any person filing comments that contain 
business confidential information must also file in a separate 
submission a public version of the comments. The file name of the 
public version of the comments should begin with the character ``P''. 
The ``BC'' and ``P'' should be followed by the name of the person or 
entity submitting the comments. The submitter must include in the 
comments a written explanation of why the information should be 
protected. 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 Inspection of Submissions

    Comments will be placed in the docket and open to public 
inspection, except confidential business information. Comments may be 
viewed on the http://www.regulations.gov Web site by entering the 
relevant docket number in the search field on the home page.

Laurie-Ann Agama,
Acting Chair, Trade Policy Staff Committee.
[FR Doc. 2013-29201 Filed 12-5-13; 8:45 am]