TLJ News from December 6-10, 2013

OUSTR Seeks Comments Regarding Trade Agreements Affecting Telecommunications

12/6. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (OUSTR) published a notice in the Federal Register requesting comments regarding the operation, effectiveness, and implementation of, and compliance with the various trade agreements affecting telecommunications products and services of the US, including the World Trade Organization (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services.

Section 1377 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, which is codified at 19 U.S.C. 3106, requires the OUSTR to conduct this review annually. See, the OUSTR's 2013 report [24 pages in PDF].

This FR notice asks, for example, "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", "Whether Canada or Mexico has failed to comply with its telecommunications obligations under the NAFTA", and "Whether Australia, Bahrain, Chile, Colombia, Korea, Morocco, Oman, Panama, Peru, or Singapore" have failed to comply with the telecommunications obligations under their free trade agreements (FTAs) with the US.

The OUSTR does not ask whether the US has violated any of the telecommunications provisions of trade agreements.

The OUSTR's FR notice does not state whether or not the OUSTR will conduct a hearing.

The deadline to submit initial comments to the OUSTR is January 3, 2014. The deadline to submit reply comments is January 24, 2014. The OUSTR states that it will complete is review by March 31, 2014.

See, FR, Vol. 78, No. 235, December 6, 2013, at Pages 73583-73584. This proceeding is Docket Number USTR-2013-0039.