TLJ News from February 11-15, 2011

Judicial Appointments

2/14. The Senate confirmed James Graves to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals (5thCir). See, Congressional Record, February 14, 2011, at Page S704.

2/14. The Senate confirmed Edward Davila to be a Judge of the U.S. District Court (NDCal). See, Congressional Record, February 14, 2011, at Page S704.

More People and Appointments

2/14. Edward Hassi was named Chief Litigation Counsel at the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Bureau of Competition. He was previously at partner at the law firm O'Melveny & Myers. He replaces Robert Roberston, who is now an antitrust lawyer in the Washington DC office of the law firm of Hogan Lovells. See, FTC release.

More News

2/14. Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Digital Agenda gave a speech in Barcelona, Spain, titled "Delivering Solutions on Roaming and Radio Spectrum".

USTR Seeks Dispute Settlement Panel in Electronic Payment Services in PRC

2/11. The Office of the United States Trade Representative (OUSTR) requested that the World Trade Organization (WTO) establish two dispute settlement panels in matters involving the People's Republic of China (PRC). In one case, the OUSTR alleges that the PRC engages in discriminatory and restrictive treatment of U.S. suppliers of electronic payment services. The other matter pertains to duties imposed on the import of certain steel products.

The OUSTR submitted a letter [4 pages in PDF] to the WTO requesting consultations back on September 15, 2010. These proceedings are WTO DS413 (electronic payments) and DS414 (steel)

USTR Ron Kirk stated in a release that the US is "deeply concerned about China's continuing efforts to reserve its domestic payment card market for one state-owned enterprise, to the exclusion of American credit and debit card companies."

The OUSTR stated that "Electronic payment services are provided in connection with the operation of electronic networks that process payment transactions involving credit, debit, prepaid, and other payment cards. These services enable, facilitate and manage the flow of information and the transfer of funds from cardholders’ banks to merchants’ banks. Most of the world’s top providers of electronic payment services for credit and debit cards are headquartered in the United States."

The OUSTR continued that "Several hundred billion dollars worth of electronic payment transactions were processed in China in 2010. China’s regulator of electronic payment services, the People's Bank of China, has issued a series of measures -- dating back to 2001 -- that provide a Chinese domestic entity, China UnionPay (CUP), with a monopoly over the handling of domestic currency payment card transactions in China while excluding other potential suppliers."

It concluded that "China prohibits foreign suppliers from handling the typical payment card transaction in China, in which a Chinese consumer makes a payment in China’s domestic currency, the renminbi (RMB). Instead, China has created a ``national champion´´ in allowing only CUP to provide these services. Meanwhile, with regard to payment card transactions in foreign currency, like those involving Chinese tourists visiting other countries, China imposes requirements and restrictions that favor CUP over foreign suppliers."

Go to News from February 6-10, 2011.