Mike Moore's speeches
Renato Ruggiero's speeches,
governments made multilateral commitments in a market that is worth well over half a
trillion dollars per year, and these countries account for more than 90 per cent of
telecoms revenue worldwide.
"I want to congratulate
governments for their determination and foresight in bringing this negotiation to a
successful conclusion. Not all the decisions have been easy. But in the end, member
governments have put their faith in the multilateral process of the WTO, and the WTO has
agreement promotes liberalization, and it enhances certainty, security and predictability
through a clear set of rules. This is particularly valuable at a time when rapid growth
and technological development are changing the face of the telecoms industry.
telecoms deal will contribute to lower costs for consumers, and the price reductions will
be very significant. This is good news for firms, which in the aggregate spend more on
telecommunications services than they do on oil. It is also good news for families that in
today's world are so often separated by physical distance.
difficult to be very precise in these matters, but telecoms liberalization could mean
global income gains of some one trillion dollars over the next decade or so. That
represents around 4 per cent of world GDP at today's prices.
other benefits flow from greater competition in telecoms markets: people and nations can
communicate more easily and understand one another better; consumers enjoy more choice and
better quality; modernization and investment are enhanced worldwide; and more jobs are
in recognition of these benefits that so many governments have joined together to make
this negotiation a success. We have seen very different countries, at very different
levels of development engaged in this endeavour, sitting on the same side of the table and
pursuing the same objectives.
most importantly of all from a longer-term perspective, this deal goes well beyond trade
and economics. It makes access to knowledge easier. It gives nations large and small, rich
and poor, better opportunities to prepare for the challenges of the twenty-first century.
Information and knowledge, after all, are the raw material of growth and development in
our globalized world."
AGREEMENT ON BASIC TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES
February 1997, 55 schedules See footnote 1
of commitments representing 69 WTO member governments had been agreed to. These schedules
are annexed to the Fourth Protocol to the General Agreement on Trade in Services which
will remain open for acceptance until 30 November 1997. The commitments will enter into
force on 1 January 1998.
At the outset
of the negotiations, governments agreed to set aside national differences on how basic
telecommunications might be defined domestically and to negotiate on all
telecommunications services both public and private that involve end-to-end transmission
of customer supplied information (e.g. simply the relay of voice or data from sender to
receiver. They also agreed that basic telecommunications services provided over network
infrastructure, as well as those provided through resale (over private leased circuits),
would both fall within the scope of commitments. As a result, market access commitments
will cover not only cross-border supply of telecommunications but also services provided
through the establishment of foreign firms, or commercial presence, including the ability
to own and operate independent telecom network infrastructure. Examples of the services
covered by this agreement include voice telephony, data transmission, telex, telegraph,
facsimile, private leased circuit services (i.e. the sale or lease of transmission
capacity), fixed and mobile satellite systems and services, cellular telephony, mobile
data services, paging, and personal communications systems.
services (or telecommunications for which suppliers "add value" to the
customer's information by enhancing its form or content or by providing for its storage
and retrieval) were not formally part of these negotiations. Examples include on-line data
processing, on-line data base storage and retrieval, electronic data interchange, e-mail
or voice mail. Value-added services are already included in 44 schedules (representing 55
governments) that are in force as a result of the Uruguay Round.
of these negotiations are to be extended to all WTO members on a non-discriminatory basis
through the "most-favoured-nation" (m.f.n.) principle. However, the legal basis
for these negotiations made it possible for each government to decide, at the end of the
negotiations, whether or not to file an m.f.n. exemption on a measure affecting trade in
basic telecommunications services. At the end of the negotiations on 15 February 1997, 9
governments See footnote 2
filed lists of m.f.n. exemptions.
Footnote: 1Antigua & Barbuda,
Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria,
Canada, Chile, Colombia, C˘te d'Ivoire, Czech Republic, Dominica, Dominican Republic,
Ecuador, El Salvador, EC & its member states, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Hong Kong,
Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mauritius,
Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines,
Poland, Romania, Senegal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Slovak Republic, South
Africa, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, United States and Venezuela.
Footnote: 2Antigua & Barbuda,
Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and United States.