Presentation on theme: "Doha Negotiations – perspectives from a negotiator Muhammad Hanafiah Bin Abdul Rashid Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore 7 Dec 2004"— Presentation transcript:
Doha Negotiations – perspectives from a negotiator Muhammad Hanafiah Bin Abdul Rashid Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore 7 Dec 2004 ITU-WTO Workshop on Telecom & ICT Regulation
Doha Negotiations Nov 2001 – launched (with Jan 2005 as the proposed end date) Approx 4 bilateral negotiating sessions per year Sep Cancun Ministerial July 2004 – the July Package Dec Hong Kong Ministerial end date?
Current Situation Existing Commitments Basic telecom services commitments – about 90 members Telecom Reference Paper full adoption: 77 members Computer services commitments – about 70 members Electronic Commerce – customs duties moratorium needs to be renewed regularly Information Technology Agreement (ITA) participants – 63 Doha Round New Offers Services offers: about 46 new offers – most include telecom and computer services commitments
Issues of interest during negotiations Classification of telecom services Classification of computer services Market Access Commitments National Treatment Additional Commitments eg Telecom Reference Paper MFN Electronic Commerce Others
Classification issues - telecom services W120 and CPC adequate? Speed of technological innovation & Convergence Services that did not exist during the creation of the W120 included? Eg 3G, Wi-max, VOIP, etc Some parts seem outdated? Eg telegraph, telex Some overlap with computer services Basic vs value-added telecom services What goes into basic? What goes into value added? Some ideas being discussed informally: Collapsing and simplifying W120 into fewer categories?
Classification issues - computer services W120 and CPC adequate? Speed of technological innovation & Convergence Services that did not exist during the creation of the W120 included? Eg application hosting, data warehousing, web hosting, e-commerce hosting Some ideas being discussed informally: Make commitments at 2-digit level (CPC 84)? Clarifying the meaning of computer services at the 2-digit level?
Market Access Issues - Telecom Basic Telecom Services relatively more restrictions than Value-added Telecom Services Value-Added Telecom Services and Resale Services typically fewer restrictions, but fewer numbers of commitments than basic telecom commitments Mode 1 – still many restrictions Eg Exclusive rights, routing restrictions Mode 3 – still many restrictions Eg number of operators, FDI limits, type of legal entity, long phase-in periods
Market Access Issues – Computer Services Given the relative openness of this sector, there are surprisingly few commitments (approx 70 commitments) Developing countries demanding more commitments in this sector – eg India, Mercosur Mode 1 and 4 – important to developing countries in particular Fewer CPC 844 commitments (database services) – content concerns? Fewer CPC 849 commitments (other) – uncertainty over its scope? Given the speed of technological innovation in computer services, it is important to make commitments on the whole sector including CPC 849
National Treatment Issues Telecom Services – limits on senior management and ownership of land Access to land is important for facilities-based telecom operators (rights-of-way issue) Computer Services – relatively few limitations
Additional Commitments Issues – Telecom Reference Paper How to get more members to adopt the Reference Paper in full? Only about half of WTO members have adopted it in full Reference paper provides a guarantee to investors who need to take into account regulatory risk. How to implement the Reference Paper? Eg Initiatives by APEC TEL Working Group Some ideas being discussed informally: Clarify how to implement the Reference Paper through capacity building and info sharing efforts
MFN Issues Satellite Services MFN exemptions allow discrimination and prevent development of efficient cross-border telecommunications? Accounting Rates Prevent development of efficient cross-border telecommunications?
Electronic Commerce Issues Customs duties on electronic transmissions how to ensure barrier-free environment for electronic transmissions? Treatment of products that can be digitized - eg e-music, e-books, software, digital video How to prevent discrimination and other barriers for these products? More liberal commitments on cross-border supply for on- line services How to prevent barriers to Business Process Outsourcing?
Other issues Information Technology Agreement (ITA) makes computers, communication devices and other ICT equipment more affordable to users (reduce digital divide?) Capacity Building Multilateral – WTO, ITU BDT, ITU Regional Offices Regional – eg APEC TEL, APT Bilateral NGOs
Developments alongside the WTO Bilateral FTAs – supplementing the Telecom Annex and Reference Paper disciplines Note the FTAs involving US, Singapore, Australia Includes enhanced Telecom Annex obligations, transparency disciplines, technology-choice for operators, number portability, colocation, unbundling, resale, access to poles and ducts, leased circuits, etc Bilateral FTAs – disciplines on electronic commerce negotiated Permanent moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions Non-discriminatory treatment of products that can be digitized Mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs) on conformity assessment of telecom equipment – at APEC and bilaterally Eliminates duplicative testing and certification Faster-time-to-market and reduced testing fees