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Trade Official Identifies Export Problems for U.S. Telecom Firms

By Phillip Kurata | Staff Writer | 04 April 2013
Man walking past satellite dishes (300 px.)

Satellite dish stations are appearing around the world as the international telecommunications sector booms.

Washington — The top U.S. official in charge of monitoring and enforcing trade agreements says Brazil, India, and Indonesia “may” be hampering U.S. telecommunications manufacturers from competing on a level playing field in their markets.

“Recent years have witnessed a growing trend among our trading partners to impose localization barriers to trade designed to protect, favor or stimulate domestic industries,” acting U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Demetrios Marantis said in a report released April 3. “U.S. equipment manufacturers may be disadvantaged by the growing use of local content requirements in countries such as Brazil, India and Indonesia,” he added.

The report, called the 1377 Review, is issued annually to highlight barriers to exports of U.S. telecommunications services and equipment.

The USTR report noted Pakistan’s practice of charging U.S. phone carriers extra to complete long-distance phone calls in Pakistan, “resulting in higher costs for U.S. carriers and higher prices for U.S. consumers.” The report named El Salvador, Ghana and Jamaica in the same connection.

The report said that during the past year, since the 1377 Review of 2012, the USTR office has achieved progress with Canada, Mexico and Israel in resolving telecommunications issues. Canada passed laws that allow foreign investments by telecommunications companies of up to 100 percent, and the new Mexican administration has introduced legislation removing foreign investment limits in the sector, the report said. With regard to Israel, the report said, an agreement was signed that will permit U.S. laboratories to test telecommunications products for conformity with Israeli technical requirements and vice versa.

“We know that these annual reviews and the follow-up work we do on the identified issues produce results,” Marantis said.

The full report (PDF, 340KB) may be found at the USTR website.