|News from June 26-30, 2004|
DC Circuit Rejects Appeal in Microsoft Antitrust Case
6/30. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued its opinion [83 pages in PDF] in Massachusetts v. Microsoft, affirming the District Court judgment that substantially approved the settlement agreement between the U.S., various states, and Microsoft
The U.S. and many states and the District of Columbia filed two complaints in U.S. District Court (DC) in 1998 against Microsoft alleging violation of federal antitrust laws. Following trial, the District Court, Judge Thomas Jackson presiding, entered judgment against Microsoft.
On June 28, 2001, the Court of Appeals, en banc, issued its landmark opinion affirming in part and reversing in part, and remanding to the District Court. The Appeals Court affirmed in part Judge Jackson's judgment that Microsoft violated § 2 of the Sherman Act by employing anticompetitive means to maintain a monopoly in the operating system market. It vacated in full the break up order. Finally, it remanded the case to a different trial judge, because Judge Jackson "engaged in impermissible ex parte contacts by holding secret interviews with members of the media and made numerous offensive comments about Microsoft officials in public statements outside of the courtroom, giving rise to an appearance of partiality." This opinion is also reported at 253 F.3d 34.
The U.S., the settling states, and Microsoft then entered into a settlement agreement. Following a Tunney Act review, the District Court, Judge Kotelly presiding, held that the settlement agreement was in the public interest. See, Memorandum Opinion [97 pages in PDF] of November 1, 2002. However, several non-settling states continued to litigate. Following judgment by the District Court, which is similar to the settlement agreement, only the state of Massachusetts persisted, bringing the present appeal.
The Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) also appealed the District Court's refusal to allow them to intervene in the Tunney Act proceeding.
The Court of Appeals, en banc, affirmed the District Court judgment, in their entirety. Chief Judge Ginsburg wrote the opinion for the unanimous panel.
See also, Microsoft release and transcript of press conference of Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith.
Smith stated that "Today's unanimous decision by the Court of Appeals strongly affirms the prior decision by the District Court. Today's unanimous decision strongly affirms the principle that removing code from Windows is neither necessary nor helpful for our industry or consumers. To the contrary, the Court of Appeals made clear today that removing software code from Windows would be a huge step backwards, not only for Microsoft but for the rest of our industry and most importantly for consumers. We believe that this judicial affirmation is a very important part of today's decision."
The European Commission has taken a different approach, and ordered code removal. See, Commission Decision [302 pages in PDF]. See also, story titled "European Commission Releases Microsoft Decision" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 883, April 23, 2004; story titled "Pate Criticizes EC Decision Regarding Microsoft" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 869, April 5, 2004; story titled "European Commission Seeks 497 Million Euros and Code Removal from Microsoft", "US Antitrust Chief Says EU's Microsoft Decision Could Harm Innovation and Consumers" and "Microsoft Will Challenge EC Decision in Court" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 863, March 25, 2004; and story titled "U.S. Legislators Criticize EU Action Against Microsoft" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 866, March 30, 2004.
Microsoft has appealed the EC decision.
5th Circuit Holds that Texas Universal Service Tax is Preempted by Section 254
6/30. The U.S. Court of Appeals (5thCir) issued its opinion [11 pages in PDF] in AT&T v. Public Utility Commission of Texas, holding that the Texas universal service tax on multijurisdictional carriers' revenue from interstate and international calls is discriminatory and inequitable, and preempted by 47 U.S.C. § 254. This opinion affirms the District Court.
In 1997 the Texas Public Utilities Commission (TPUC) imposed a 3.6% tax on all telecommunications carriers who provide any intrastate service, to fund its subsidy program titled the "Texas Universal Service Fund" (TUSF). The TPUC collected this tax on all revenue of these carriers derived from intrastate, interstate, and international calls originating in Texas.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has imposed a tax on interstate carriers. AT&T pays universal service taxes to both the FCC and the TPUC for certain revenues derived from telephone calls that originate in Texas.
AT&T and its Texas subsidiary filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (WDTex) against the TPUC and its individual Commissioners, in their official capacities, alleging that the TPUC tax is preempted by 47 U.S.C. § 254, the universal service section of the Communications Act that was enacted as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
The District Court granted summary judgment to AT&T. It held that the TPUC taxation of revenues derived from both interstate and intrastate calls is inequitable and discriminatory because it burdens multijurisdictional carriers more harshly than their pure interstate competitors.
This appeal followed. The Court of Appeals affirmed.
47 U.S.C. § 254(d) gives the FCC authority to tax "interstate" telecommunications carriers. It provides, in part, that "Every telecommunications carrier that provides interstate telecommunications services shall contribute, on an equitable and nondiscriminatory basis, to the specific, predictable, and sufficient mechanisms established by the Commission to preserve and advance universal service. ... "
47 U.S.C. § 254(f) gives the states authority to tax "intrastate" telecommunications carriers. It provides, in full, that "A State may adopt regulations not inconsistent with the Commission's rules to preserve and advance universal service. Every telecommunications carrier that provides intrastate telecommunications services shall contribute, on an equitable and nondiscriminatory basis, in a manner determined by the State to the preservation and advancement of universal service in that State. A State may adopt regulations to provide for additional definitions and standards to preserve and advance universal service within that State only to the extent that such regulations adopt additional specific, predictable, and sufficient mechanisms to support such definitions or standards that do not rely on or burden Federal universal service support mechanisms."
The Appeals Court wrote that the federal state "dual universal service scheme allows the FCC to tax interstate service providers to fund federal universal service programs and allows the States to tax intrastate providers to fund the state universal service programs."
However, it added that § 254 "has no provision for treatment of multijurisdictional carriers, i.e., carriers that provide both intrastate and interstate service. Congress's omission on that issue is the source of the conflict in this case."
The Appeals Court, like the District Court, held that the Texas scheme is "discriminatory or inequitable". The Appeals Court wrote that "Given the state taxation scheme multijurisdictional carriers will be forced to pay an approximate 11% tax on their revenue derived from interstate telecommunications calls, while their pure-interstate-provider competitors pay only the 7.28% federal tax on interstate revenues. The result is a taxation scheme that is clearly unfair and discriminates between telecommunication service providers based solely upon their presence in the intrastate market."
It added that "Regardless of the amount of intrastate revenues a carrier earns, the double taxation of interstate revenue puts multijurisdictional carriers at a distinct competitive disadvantage compared with the pure interstate carriers. The funding mechanism, therefore, burdens multijurisdictional carriers more severely than pure interstate or intrastate carriers."
The Court concluded that "tax on both interstate and intrastate
calls creates an inequitable, discriminatory, and
anti-competitive taxation scheme. Given the parallel language used in §§ 254(d) and (f), we conclude, ... that the PUC taxation of interstate and international calls is discriminatory, conflicts with § 254(f), and thus is preempted
by federal law."
The Court did not reach several other appeal issues, including a dormant commerce clause argument.
This case is AT&T v. Public Utility Commission of Texas, et al., U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, App. Ct. No. 03-50454, an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.
6/30. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Michael Powell gave a speech [PDF] at the University of Tennessee Telehealth Network in Knoxville, Tennessee. He praised broadband, stated that it is critical for rural areas, and discussed some of the things that the FCC is doing to promote broadband deployment in rural areas.
6/30. The research and development tax credit provision of the Internal Revenue Code expired on June 30. Both the House and Senate bills to repeal the ETI tax regime would extend the R&D credit through December 31, 2005. The House has passed its bill, HR 4520, the "American Jobs Creation Act of 2004". The Senate has passed its bill, S 1637, the "Jumpstart Our Business Strength (JOBS) Act". However, the two bills have not been reconciled.
6/30. The U.S. District Court (EDCal) issued its Memorandum and Order [PDF] in American Bankers Association v. Lockyer granting summary judgment to Bill Lockyer. This case is a challenge to the restrictions on the dissemination of personal information contained in the California Financial Information Privacy Act, which is codified as California Financial Code §§ 4050-4059. The District Court rejected the argument of the American Bankers Association (ABA) and others that the California act is preempted by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which is codified at 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq. It further held that limitations such as those contained in the California act are permitted by the federal Gramm Leach Bliley act. This case American Bankers Association, et al. v. Bill Lockyer, et al., U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, D.C. No. Civ. S 04-0778 MCE KJM.
Supreme Court Affirms Preliminary Injunction of COPA
6/29. The Supreme Court issued its opinion [41 pages in PDF] Ashcroft v. ACLU, No. 03-218, a constitutional challenge to the Child Online Protection Act (COPA). The District Court issued a preliminary injunction of the COPA. The U.S. Court of Appeals (3rdCir) affirmed. And now, the Supreme Court affirmed the issuance of the preliminary injunction, and remanded.
The Supreme Court held that the COPA is a content based restriction of speech, and that the government has not met is burden of showing that the COPA is the least restrictive alternative available to accomplish the goals of the Congress in protecting minors from web based material that is harmful to minors.
It is a hypothetical, but unlikely, possibility that on remand the District Court will find, after trial on the merits, that the COPA is the least restrictive alternative available to the Congress, and uphold the COPA.
The COPA provides, in part, that "Whoever knowingly and with knowledge of the character of the material, in interstate or foreign commerce by means of the World Wide Web, makes any communication for commercial purposes that is available to any minor and that includes any material that is harmful to minors shall be fined not more than $50,000, imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both."
The COPA further provides that "It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the defendant, in good faith, has restricted access by minors to material that is harmful to minors ... by requiring use of a credit card, debit account, adult access code, or adult personal identification number ... by accepting a digital certificate that verifies age; or ... by any other reasonable measures that are feasible under available technology."
The COPA is now codified at 47 U.S.C. § 231.
The COPA was enacted into law in 1998. It was a reaction to the Supreme Court decision holding unconstitutional the Communications Decency Act (CDA). Unlike the CDA, which banned all internet indecency, the COPA only affects the web, only affects commercial communications, and only restricts material that is harmful to minors. The majority of the Justices of the Supreme Court, however, were unimpressed by these distinctions.
See also, March 6, 2003 opinion [59 pages in PDF] of the U.S. Court of Appeals (3rdCir).
COPA Sponsor Addresses Supreme Court Decision
6/29. Rep. Mike Oxley (R-OH) released a statement regarding the Supreme Court's June 29, 2004 opinion [41 pages in PDF] in Ashcroft v. ACLU, in which the Court affirmed the issuance of a preliminary injunction of the Child Online Protection Act (COPA). Rep. Oxley, who sponsored the bill in 1998, said that he "can't forecast what the next step after COPA might be, but the feeling that we have to clean up this dirt is going to continue".
The COPA bans sending to minors over the web material that is harmful to minors. The Supreme Court held that the COPA is a content based restriction of speech, and that the government has not met is burden of showing that the COPA is the least restrictive alternative available to accomplish the goals of the Congress in protecting minors from web based material that is harmful to minors.
The bill was passed as part of the Omnibus Appropriations Act for FY 1999. President Clinton signed this bill on October 21, 1998. However, the final language was that of HR 3783 (105th Congress), sponsored by Rep. Oxley. See, story titled "Internet and Tech Bills Become Law", October 22, 1998.
The ACLU and other interest groups promptly filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (EDPenn) challenging the constitutionality of the COPA. See, TLJ story titled "ACLU Files Suit Challenging the Child Online Protection Act", October 23, 1998.
Rep. Oxley is now the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC), and spends less time on internet related matters. The COPA amended the Communications Act. It is now codified at 47 U.S.C. § 231. Hence, it lies within the jurisdiction of the House Commerce Committee.
He had this to say about the Supreme Court's opinion. "The fight for COPA and our children is not over. I will contact the Department of Justice and ask it to mount an aggressive case to show the court that there is technology to make COPA work as Congress intended."
He continued that "I don't think that pornographers have any more right to shove their smut into the faces of children in cyberspace than they do at the corner newsstand. Larry Flynt can't set up in front of a news store handing out free copies of Hustler to minors, and the operators of pornographic websites shouldn't be allowed to entice a kid with a teaser page. I'm tired that the flesh merchants keep hiding behind this fig leaf of artistic expression. What they peddle is porn, plain and simple."
Rep. Oxley (at right) said that "We are seeing our society rebel against indecency in the media. Families are fed up with being saturated by images that are bad for their kids and corrosive for our culture. I can't forecast what the next step after COPA might be, but the feeling that we have to clean up this dirt is going to continue."
He concluded that "I think that if this law had not been held up by the American Civil Liberties Union for six years now, we could already have had an unobtrusive system in place protecting our children without censoring the Internet. Parents wouldn't be afraid to leave their kids alone in the room with the computer on. The pervasiveness of pornography on the Internet is going to be a barrier to its development. Congress worked very hard on COPA to strike a reasonable balance between protecting our children and not infringing on freedom of expression. The Supreme Court found this so important that it heard arguments on the case not once, but twice, and it is now sending the case back to a lower court for a third time."
Mark Corallo, Director of Public Affairs for the Department of Justice (DOJ), stated in a release that "Our society has reached a broad consensus that child obscenity is harmful to our youngest generation and must be stopped. Congress has repeatedly attempted to address this serious need and the Court yet again opposed these common-sense measures to protect America's children. The Department will continue to work to defend children from the dangerous predators who lurk in the dark shadows of the World Wide Web."
Opponents of the COPA are pleased with the Supreme Court decision. John Morris said in a release that "Congress should stop wasting government time and money on unconstitutional censorship laws". Morris, who is unlikely to be invited to testify before the HFSC, is a Staff Counsel with the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT),
Ann Beeson, who argued the case for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), was more diplomatic. She stated in a release that "Today's ruling from the Court demonstrates that there are many less restrictive ways to protect children without sacrificing communication intended for adults". She added that "By preventing Attorney General Ashcroft from enforcing this questionable federal law, the Court has made it safe for artists, sex educators, and web publishers to communicate with adults about sexuality without risking jail time."
She accused John Ashcroft, the Attorney General, of "wasting taxpayer dollars in defending this unconstitutional law".
This was the second time that the Supreme Court issued an opinion in this case. On May 13, 2002, the Supreme Court issued its opinion [54 pages in PDF] upholding the constitutionality of the community standards component of the COPA.
Then, on March 6, 2003 the U.S. Court of Appeals (3rdCir) issued its opinion [59 pages in PDF] holding the COPA unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds.
On October 14, 2003, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to review this opinion. See also, story titled "Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in COPA Case" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 758, October 15, 2003.
On December 16, 2003, the DOJ's Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed its brief on the merits arguing that the COPA does not violate the First Amendment. See, story titled "Solicitor General Files Brief in COPA Case" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 805, December 23, 2003.
See also, story titled "ACLU Files Suit Challenging the Child Online Protection Act", October 23, 1998. This article contains a collection of hyperlinks to earlier TLJ stories regarding the drafting, debate, and enactment of the COPA.
1st Circuit Holds Wiretap Act Does Not Apply to E-Mail in Storage
6/29. The U.S. Court of Appeals (1stCir) issued its split opinion in USA v. Bradford Councilman, a criminal case involving the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and unauthorized accessing of the content of stored e-mail messages. The Court held that there was no violation of the Wiretap Act, as amended by the ECPA, when stored e-mail was accessed, because, since it was in storage, there was no interception within the meaning of the statute. See, full story.
DC Circuit Denies Petition for Review in NASUCA v. FCC
6/29. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued its opinion [12 pages in PDF] in NASUCA v. FCC.
The National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA) filed a petition for review of an order of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adjusting the manner in which local exchange carriers (LECs) may recover the fixed costs they incur in providing service to residential and single line business customers.
The NASUCA argued that the FCC order violated the universal service provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, that it results in rates that are unjust and unreasonable, and it is arbitrary and capricious. The Appeals Court denied the petition.
This case is National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates, petitioner v. FCC and USA, respondents, and BellSouth, et al., intervenors, App. Ct. No. 02-1261, a petition for review of a final order of the FCC.
6/29. The U.S. Court of Appeals (6thCir) issued its opinion in AutoZone v. Tandy, a case involving claims of trademark infringement, tradename infringement, unfair competition, breach of contract, and trademark dilution. The Appeals Court affirmed the District Court's judgment for Tandy (Radio Shack). This case is AutoZone, Inc. and Speedbar, Inc. v. Tandy Corp., No. 01-6571, an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee at Nashville, D.C. No. 99-00884, Judge Thomas Wiseman presiding.
Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in Securities Fraud Case
6/28. The Supreme Court granted certiorari in Dura Pharmaceuticals v. Broudo, a 10b-5 securities fraud case involving the question of whether a securities fraud plaintiff invoking the fraud on the market theory must demonstrate loss causation by pleading and proving a causal connection between the alleged fraud and the investment's subsequent decline in price.
The Supreme Court wrote that "The motion of Securities Industry Association for leave to file a brief as amicus curiae is granted. The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted." See, Order List [11 pages in PDF] at page 4.
See also, August 5, 2003 opinion [16 pages in PDF] of the U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir).
The Solicitor General filed an amicus curiae brief urging the Supreme Court to grant certiorari. He wrote that "There is an acknowledged circuit conflict regarding the nature and scope of the plaintiff's burden to plead and prove loss causation in a fraud-on-the-market case under Rule 10b-5; the court of appeals decided that question incorrectly; the question is one of recurring importance; and this case is a suitable vehicle for resolving it."
This case is Dura Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Michael Broudo, et al., No. 03-932, a petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
More Supreme Court News
6/28. The Supreme Court issued an order in three proceedings pertaining to internet wine sales: Granholm v. Heald, No. 03-1116, Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers v. Heald, No. 03-1120, and Swedenburg v. Kelly, No. 03-1274. The Court ordered that "The motion for realignment of the parties and to set a briefing schedule is denied. See, Order List [11 pages in PDF] at page 3. On November 12, 2002, the District Court issued its opinion [32 page PDF scan] holding that the NY statute prohibiting out of state wineries from selling directly to NY residents, such as via the internet, violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. See, story titled "Court Holds New York's Ban on Internet Wine Sales Is Unconstitutional" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 551, November 18, 2002. Then, on February 12, 2004 the U.S. Court of Appeals (2ndCir) issued its opinion [28 pages in PDF] reversing the District Court, and holding that NY's statute is a permissible exercise of authority granted to states under the 21st Amendment. See, story titled "2nd Circuit Rules in Internet Wines Sales Case" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 840, February 19, 2004. The U.S. Court of Appeals (6thCir) issued its opinion in Heald v. Engler on August 28, 2003. The Court held that Michigan's alcohol sales statute violates the dormant commerce clause. On May 24, 2004 the Supreme Court granted certiorari. See, story titled "Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in Internet Wine Sales Cases" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 905, May 26, 2004.
6/28. The Supreme Court issued an order in Hewlett-Packard v. Jebian, No. 03-1202, and Hill v. Lockheed Martin, No. 03-1443. It wrote that "The Solicitor General is invited to file briefs in these cases expressing the views of the United States." See, Order List [11 pages in PDF] at page 3. HP v. Jebian is a proceeding on a petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir) is an ERISA case involving denial of benefits to a former programmer for HP who suffered back troubles.
6/28. The Supreme Court denied certiorari in Orloff v. FCC, No. 03-1347 See, Order List [11 pages in PDF] at page 5.
6/28. The Supreme Court issued opinions in several non-technology related cases. The Supreme Court has yet to issue its opinion in Ashcroft v. ACLU, No. 03-218, a constitutional challenge to the Child Online Protection Act (COPA).
8th Circuit Affirms in Leach v. Mediacom
6/28. The U.S. Court of Appeals (8thCir) issued its per curium opinion [2 pages in PDF] in Leach v. Mediacom, holding that there is no implied private right of action under 47 U.S.C. § 531(e).
This subsection, which is part of the Cable Communications Policy Act, provides, in part, that "a cable operator shall not exercise any editorial control over any public, educational, or governmental use of channel capacity provided pursuant to this section, except a cable operator may refuse to transmit any public access program or portion of a public access program which contains obscenity, indecency, or nudity."
The Court held that there is no implied private right of action because the Congress expressly gave the franchiser enforcement authority, and where a statute provides a method of enforcement, it thereby precludes other methods of enforcement. The District Court dismissed the complaint. The Appeals Court affirmed.
This case is David Leach v. Mediacom, Inc., U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, App. Ct. No. 03-1447, an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.
6/28. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published in the Federal Register its Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, a list of significant proceedings. See, Federal Register, June 28, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 123, at Pages 38504 - 38559.
6/28. The Federal Trade Commission (FCC) published in the Federal Register its Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, a list of significant proceedings. See, Federal Register, June 28, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 123, at Pages 38598 - 38609.
6/28. The Department of Commerce (DOC) published in the Federal Register its Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, a list of significant proceedings. See, Federal Register, June 28, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 123, at Pages 37264 - 37356. See especially, sections for the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
6/28. The Center for Internet and Society (CIS) at Stanford Law School published a book titled Open Architecture as Communications Policy. It is a collection of articles, edited by Mark Cooper of the Consumer Federation of America. The other contributors include John Butler, Vinton Cerf, Earl Comstock, Mark Cooper, Michael Copps, Robert Kahn, Mark Lemley, Lawrence Lessig, Richard Whitt, and Timothy Wu. It includes articles titled "The End of End to End", by Lemley and Lessig, "Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination" by Wu, and "Formulating a New Public Policy Framework Based on the Network Layers Model" by Whitt. The book is available in electronic format [472 pages in PDF]. This is a free download.
US EU Summit in Ireland Addresses Tech Related Issues
6/26. The US and the EU held an economic summit in Ireland. Upon completion, government leaders made announcements regarding several technology related topics, including innovation and intellectual property protection, pursuing the Doha agenda, FSC/ETI repeal by the US, regulation, and GPS/Galileo.
Innovation and Intellectual Property Protection. The US and the EU issued a joint statement which provides that "We are committed to policies producing strong and sustained economic growth to the mutual benefit of our citizens and the wider world. Innovation will bring improvements in productivity and stimulate more growth and higher levels of prosperity for our countries as well as other countries that rely on our markets. Innovative technologies in areas such as information, communication, hydrogen energy, pharmaceuticals, and other health-related products, can provide impetus to our economic partnership. We will reinforce our commitment to the protection of intellectual property rights, recognising their fundamental and growing importance to the creation of innovative products, services, and technologies in our economies."
Doha Agenda. The US and the EU joint statement provides that "We will continue to cooperate to reach a successful conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda negotiations as quickly as possible".
The US also issued a release that states that "President Bush believes that trade liberalization is critical to boosting global prosperity, generating sustained economic growth, and raising living standards. Emphasizing the need to seek an ambitious outcome in the WTO's Doha negotiations, President Bush and his EU counterparts reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate with other WTO members to finalize framework agreements in the Doha trade negotiations by the end of July in order to expeditiously complete these negotiations and further enhance the conditions for sustained global economic growth."
Bush also addressed this at press conference with other national leaders. He said that "Lowering trade barrier increases the -- trade barriers increases the prosperity of all our nations. And so we're looking at new ways to open markets on both sides of the Atlantic. Free and fair trade has the power to lift nations out of poverty. So we reaffirmed our commitment to the Doha Development Agenda, which seeks to remove obstacles to global trade and growth in the developing world." See, transcript.
FSC/ETI Repeal. The US release states that "While the United States and the EU are working to advance WTO negotiations, both the United States and the EU have had laws and other measures challenged under WTO dispute settlement procedures. President Bush intends to comply with final WTO rulings against U.S. measures, such as in the FSC/ETI case where the Bush Administration continues to work closely with the U.S. Congress. The United States is currently awaiting EU action to comply with the WTO ruling in the beef hormone case, as well as awaiting a WTO ruling against the EU moratorium on biotech approvals."
See also, EU release [PDF] on FSC.
Regulation. The US release states that "Recognizing that regulatory differences, not tariffs, comprise the most significant remaining transatlantic trade barriers, President Bush and his EU counterparts welcomed the U.S.-EU Regulatory Cooperation Roadmap. This Roadmap builds on the 2002 U.S.-EU Guidelines for Regulatory Cooperation in which the European Commission undertook to make its regulatory process more transparent. The Regulatory Cooperation Roadmap provides a framework for U.S. and EU officials to cooperate on a broad range of important areas such as pharmaceuticals, auto safety, information and communications technology, cosmetics, consumer product safety, chemicals, nutritional labeling, and eco-design of electrical/electronic products. Through targeted U.S.-EU regulatory consultations, we aim to promote better quality regulation, minimize regulatory divergences, and facilitate transatlantic commerce."
GPS Galileo. The US issued another release that addresses GPS and Galileo. It states that "U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, European Commission Vice-President Loyola de Palacio, and Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen signed the Agreement on the Promotion, Provision, and Use of Galileo and GPS Satellite-Based Navigation Systems and Related Applications."
It adds that "The agreement ensures that Galileo's signals will not harm the navigation warfare capabilities of the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization military forces, ensures that both the United States and the European Union can address individual and mutual security concerns, and calls for non-discrimination and open markets in terms of trade in civil satellite navigation-related goods and services."
Bush also addressed this topic at the joint press conference. He said that "Earlier today, we also signed an agreement that ensures compatibility between America's global positioning system and its future European counterpart, Galileo. This agreement will protect our common security, improve the delivery of emergency services, and further our economic cooperation. This was a hard agreement to make, and because we worked together, we now have an agreement. The two systems will be compatible and interoperable. And users from business to science to government in America and Europe will benefit." See, transcript.
See also, EU release [PDF] on GPS and Galileo.
Go to News from June 21-25, 2004.