Seminar on Telecommunications and Trade Issues
28-30 October 2003, Bangkok, Thailand
The seminar participants
made the following recommendations for the WTO negotiations on trade in
Credit should be given to autonomous
liberalization initiatives in the telecommunication sector of developing and
least-developed countries, and developing countries may be encouraged to use
existing binding commitments as bargaining chips.
More specific and effective Special and
Differential treatment should be given to least developed and developing
Developing countries should, inter alia, proactively identify their own interests in
telecommunications and trade, prioritize interests in particular sub-sectors
and modes of systemic interests, and use their strength in number.
Developing countries should be vigilant in
negotiating commitments in all services, and draft their schedules carefully
to guard against excessive commitments and avoid overlap between sectors.
A harmonized sector classification for the
telecommunication sector should be developed jointly by ITU and WTO.
Recognizing the usefulness
and importance of the seminar as well as the complexity of the issue, it was
recommended that ITU, ESCAP and WTO continue strengthening existing capacity
building programmes for developing countries. The following areas and topics
Establishment and improvement of trade
policy and regulatory frameworks.
Trade negotiation capabilities.
Skill development in framing commitments
and envisaging request-offer in schedules in respect of telecommunication/ICT
Rules-making in the multilateral trading
Costs and benefits of WTO membership for
countries in Asia and the Pacific, including, inter alia, comparative
studies of WTO members and non-members in the region.
Costs and benefits of telecommunication
liberalization under the WTO for countries in Asia and the Pacific.
Relationship between the Millennium
Development Goals and trade liberalization.
Statistics of the service sector in
general, and the telecommunication sector in particular.
Conformity of bilateral and regional
agreements with WTO rules.
These capacity building programmes and
seminars should target, inter alia,
trade officials, telecommunication policy makers, and telecommunication
regulators, either jointly or separately.
Special seminars and
activities are recommended for countries acceding to WTO and for non-members.
Regional activities should
be complemented by national seminars, with different national stakeholders as