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A Review of the Wto Regime for Telecommunications Services

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Chapter Summary

This chapter reviews the commitments already contained in the GATS at the time the WTO Agreement was signed, followed by the commitments of the Fourth Protocol of February 15, 1997. First, it explains the distinction that has been drawn between "basic" and "value added" telecommunications. It examines the substantive GATS provisions applicable to telecommunications. It then assesses whether these provisions can be effectively enforced. It also discusses applicable remedies and dispute settlement. Two cases are distinguished for the purposes of remedies, namely injury to telecommunications service providers in their home market as a result of practices from foreign suppliers, and difficulties on a foreign market. The chapter deals with how the two major trading blocks - the EU and the United States - implemented their WTO commitments in the telecommunications sector. From a telecommunications perspective, the Fourth Protocol marked the beginning of a new era, though its immediate impact should not be overestimated.

Keywords: dispute settlement; EU; foreign suppliers; Fourth Protocol; General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS); home market; telecommunications sector; United States; WTO agreement



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