Compliance with WTO telecommunication commitments U.S. mission to the EU, WTO Link Accessed: 2006-05-30.

Contributor: vjp

Keywords: WTO, United States, European Commission, Network neutrality


This entry differs a bit from traditional entries in that it lists several sources and links to those sources.While it does not reflect recent news about network neutrality, it is worth noting that back in 2001 the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s review of foreign governments' compliance with the World Trade Organization Basic Telecommunications Agreement, noted a number of network neutrality type violations such as, anti-competitive and discriminatory practices by overseas incumbent carriers. The United States was particularly concered that these obsacles were (still is) hindering the development and expansion of U.S. telecommunications in various countries.  

More recently, in a WTO communication dated 01/07/2005, the United States along with a number of other WTO members issued a statement to Members of the Council for Trade in Services, emphasizing the economic and social benefits of  open and competitive telecommunications markets.

In another communication posted shotly afterwards, dated 22/02/2005, the United States issued a stong statement to Members of the Council for Trade in Services and the Members of the Committee on Specific Commitments expressing their concern over the European Commission’s proposal to reclassify telecommunication services as defined in the Annex on Telecommunications (see third link below.) The U.S. recommended alternative language that would extend provisions such that  “the important principle of technology neutrality with respect to market access should also apply to the value-added sector and include services provided through IP-based networks.”   

These entries show that network neutrality debates have been ongoing since communications became big business. We also see here that there is a dual face to the U.S. network neutrality debate. From an international perspective, the U.S. demands the WTO Members respect the principles of network neutrality. While at home, big industry pushes ever harder  to eliminate network neutrality provisions from law.