US concerned about telecom trade barriers in India, China

Washington, April 5: Expressing concern over what it called “emergence of troubling new and potential barriers” to telecommunications trade in India and China, the US says it’s seeking “a level playing field” for US companies.

Among the issues highlighted by the US Trade Representative (USTR) in it annual review of telecommunications trade agreements released Friday were “ongoing restrictions on the provision of voice-over the Internet (VOIP) services in China and India”.

Also highlighted were:

- Concerns about undue restrictions on the ability of US satellite service suppliers to provide satellite transmission capacity to customers in both China and India.

- Progress in US telecommunications suppliers’ ability to obtain competitive access to facilities in India where submarine cables connect to the Indian terrestrial network.

“Barriers to trade in telecommunications-related goods and services disproportionately affect US suppliers, given our strong competitive position in these sectors,” said US Trade Representative Michael Froman releasing the report.

Called the 1377 review, the report details the operation and effectiveness of US telecommunications trade agreements under Section 1377 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988.

“We have made important progress this year in advancing market liberalisation in this sector, though we continue to see the emergence of new barriers to data flows and other localisation requirements,” Froman said.

“The 1377 Review and the follow-up work we do each year are aimed at addressing these barriers and opening markets for US telecommunications goods and services,” he said.

“USTR will continue to use these tools to support US jobs and ensure that US companies have a level playing field to supply new and innovative products and services abroad,” Froman said.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

IANS