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Notice

WTO Consultations Regarding Telecommunications Trade Barriers in Mexico

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Office of the United States Trade Representative.

ACTION:

Notice; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) is providing notice that on August 17, 2000, the United States requested consultations in the World Trade Organization (“WTO”) with Mexico regarding its commitments and obligations under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (“GATS”) with respect to basic and value-added telecommunications services. Pursuant to Article 4.3 of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding (“DSU”), such consultations are to take place within a period of 30 days from the date of receipt of the request, or within a period otherwise mutually agreed between the United States and Mexico. USTR invites written comments from the public concerning the issues raised in this dispute.

DATES:

Although the USTR will accept any comments received during the course of the dispute settlement proceedings, comments should be submitted on or before September 25, 2000 to be assured of timely consideration by USTR.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments to Sandy McKinzy, Monitoring and Enforcement Unit, Office of the General Counsel, Room 122, Office of the United States Trade Representative, 600 17th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20508, Attn: Mexico Telecommunications Dispute. Telephone: (202) 395-3582.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Demetrios J. Marantis, Associate General Counsel, Office of the United States Trade Representative, 600 17th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., (202) 395-3581.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Section 127(b) of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA) (19 U.S.C. 3537(b)(1)) requires that notice and opportunity for comment be provided after the United States submits or receives a request for the establishment of a WTO dispute settlement panel. Consistent with this obligation, but in an effort to provide additional opportunity for comment, USTR is providing notice that consultations have been requested pursuant to the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding. If such consultations should fail to resolve the matter and a dispute settlement panel is established pursuant to the DSU, such panel, which would hold its meetings in Geneva, Switzerland, would be expected to issue a report on its findings and recommendations within six to nine months after it is established.

Major Issues Raised by the United States

Since the entry into force of the GATS, the Government of Mexico has adopted or maintained anti-competitive and discriminatory regulatory measures, tolerated certain privately-established market access barriers, and failed to take needed regulatory action in Mexico's basic and value-added telecommunications sectors. These acts and failures to act raise serious questions regarding whether Mexico is in compliance with its GATS commitments in these sectors. For example, Mexico has:

(1) Enacted and maintained laws, regulations, rules, and other measures that deny or limit market access, national treatment, and additional commitments for service suppliers seeking to provide basic and value-added telecommunications services into and within Mexico;

(2) Failed to issue and enact regulations, permits, or other measures to ensure implementation of Mexico's market access, national treatment, and additional commitments for service suppliers seeking to provide basic and value-added telecommunications services into and within Mexico;

(3) Failed to enforce regulations and other measures to ensure compliance with Mexico's market access, national treatment, and additional commitments for service suppliers seeking to provide basic and value-added telecommunications services into and within Mexico;

(4) Failed to regulate, control and prevent its major supplier, Teléfonos de México (“Telmex”), from engaging in activity that denies or limits Mexico's market access, national treatment, and additional commitments for service suppliers seeking to provide basic and value-added telecommunications services into and within Mexico; and

(5) Failed to administer measures of general application governing basic and value-added telecommunications services in a reasonable, objective, and impartial manner, ensure that decisions and procedures used by Mexico's telecommunications regulator are impartial with respect to all market participants, and ensure access to and use of public telecommunications transport networks and services on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and conditions for the supply of basic and value-added telecommunications services.

Public Comment: Requirements for Submissions

Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning the issues raised in the dispute. Comments must be in English and provided in fifteen copies. A person requesting that information contained in a comment submitted by that person be treated as confidential business information must certify that such information is business confidential and would not customarily be released to the public by the commenter. Confidential business information must be clearly marked “BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL” in a contrasting color ink at the top of each page of each copy.

Information or advice contained in a comment submitted, other than business confidential information, may be determined by USTR to be confidential in accordance with section 135(g)(2) of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2155(g)(2)). If the submitter believes that information or advice may qualify as such, the submitter—

(1) Must so designate the information or advice;

(2) Must clearly mark the material as “SUBMITTED IN CONFIDENCE” in a contrasting color ink at the top of each page of each copy; and

(3) Is encouraged to provide a non-confidential summary of the information or advice.

Pursuant to section 127(e) of the URAA (19 U.S.C. 3537(e)), USTR will maintain a file on this dispute settlement proceeding, accessible to the public, in the USTR Reading Room: Room 101, Office of the United States Start Printed Page 52470Trade Representative, 600 17th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20508. The public file will include a listing of any comments received by USTR from the public with respect to the dispute; if a dispute settlement panel is convened, the U.S. submissions to that panel, the submissions, or non-confidential summaries of submissions, to the panel received from other participants in the dispute, as well as the report of the panel; and, if applicable, the report of the Appellate Body. An appointment to review the public file (Docket WTO/D-204, Mexico Telecom Dispute) may be made by calling Brenda Webb, (202) 395-6186. The USTR Reading Room is open to the public from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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Catherine Field,

Acting Assistant, United States Trade Representative for Monitoring and Enforcement.

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[FR Doc. 00-22070 Filed 8-28-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3190-01-P