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Recommendations

ITU/ESCAP/WTO Joint Seminar on Telecommunications and Trade Issues
28-30 October 2003, Bangkok, Thailand

Recommendations

The seminar participants made the following recommendations for the WTO negotiations on trade in telecommunications: 

  1. 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.

  2. More specific and effective Special and Differential treatment should be given to least developed and developing countries.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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 were suggested:

  1. Establishment and improvement of trade policy and regulatory frameworks.

  2. Trade negotiation capabilities.

  3. Skill development in framing commitments and envisaging request-offer in schedules in respect of telecommunication/ICT services.

  4. Rules-making in the multilateral trading system.

  5. 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.

  6. Costs and benefits of telecommunication liberalization under the WTO for countries in Asia and the Pacific.

  7. Relationship between the Millennium Development Goals and trade liberalization.

  8. Statistics of the service sector in general, and the telecommunication sector in particular.

  9. 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 participants.

 

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