August 2, 2001
Mr. Ralph Ives
Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Asia-Pacific
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
Washington, DC 20508
Dear Mr. Ives:
I am pleased to convey to you the attached list of trade objectives for telecommunications liberalization, the Internet and e-commerce that are supported by the U.S. Council for International Business (USCIB). I hope this statement of U.S. industry views will be of some value to you in your upcoming discussions on the “New Economy” during the APEC Minister’s meeting on October 17 – 18, 2001 in Shanghai, China.
USCIB works to promote an open system of world trade, finance and investment in which business can flourish and contribute to economic growth, human welfare and protection of the environment. Representing some 300 U.S. companies, professional services firms and associations, it is the American affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce, the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD and the International Organization of Employers. USCIB also facilitates international trade by working toward harmonization of international commercial practices in such areas as customs and arbitration.
I hope you find this information useful in your discussions with other APEC delegates. We would be pleased to meet with you to discuss these objectives in greater detail, should you consider such a meeting useful.
Thomas M.T. Niles
USCIB Response on the Objectives for
APEC Trade Policies for the New Economy
August 3, 2001
USCIB supports a “New Economy” initiative that would provide the opportunity for APEC Members at the October 2001 meetings to make voluntary commitments to adhere to policies that promote the Internet and e-commerce. USCIB proposes that the following core principles be included:
Ø Promote the development of the domestic and global infrastructure that is necessary to conduct e-commerce;
Ø Promote full implementation of existing commitments and seek increased liberalisation for all basic telecommunications and value-added services;
Ø Promote the development of trade in goods and services via e-commerce; and
Ø Promote strong protection for intellectual property made available over digital networks.
(1.) Promote the development of the domestic and global infrastructure that is necessary to conduct e-commerce, USCIB seeks:
· increased participation by APEC Members in the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) and redoubled efforts to conclude the ITA II agreement. These agreements are important to ensure that all countries have access to the hardware and software necessary to deploy and access the e-commerce infrastructure;
· full market access and national treatment commitments by APEC Members for the sectors that are associated with the infrastructure needed for business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-commerce; and
· restraint among APEC Members in imposing new barriers to the development of the e-commerce infrastructure.
(2.) Promote full implementation of existing commitments and seek increased liberalization for all basic telecommunications and value-added services, USCIB seeks:
· broader market access and national treatment commitments;
· earlier implementation dates;
· reductions or elimination of foreign ownership restrictions;
· adherence to the “Reference Paper” commitments for basic telecommunications services; and
· adherence to the GATS Annex on Telecommunications for access to and use of public telecommunications networks for the provision of value-added services, including Internet services, and other sectors for which APEC Members have made commitments.
(3.) Promote the development of trade in goods and services via e-commerce, USCIB seeks:
· formal recognition by APEC Members that current commitments under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), apply to electronic commerce given that electronic commerce is not a new form of trade but rather a new medium for conducting trade in goods and services;
· agreement among APEC Members that the existing GATS classifications should be flexible enough to accommodate technological progress in the delivery of services. As technology evolves, the interpretation of the existing classifications of goods and services based on this technology should also evolve to capture these advances. With such flexibility, WTO member countries can ensure that they benefit from the tremendous productivity increases and cost savings associated with the information technology revolution;
· assurances that electronically delivered products (i.e. goods or services) receive market access and national treatment benefits that are no less favorable than those currently available for such products delivered physically;
· meaningful market opening commitments by APEC Members for all services that can be delivered via e-commerce, whether on a cross-border or consumption-abroad basis; and
(4.) Promote strong protection of intellectual property made available over digital networks, USCIB seeks:
· Effective and timely implementation and enforcement of the WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) by APEC Members. With the rapid development of digital technologies and electronic services, the need for strong protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights is imperative. The TRIPs Agreement plays a very important role insofar as it provides minimum standards for such protection and enforcement.
· Timely ratification of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty consistent with the approach in the United States balancing the rights and obligations of network operators, service providers, and content providers found in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
The flexibility referred to here is limited to existing GATS classification schemes and does not refer to the classification of a product delivered electronically as either a good or a service.