The European Commission has slammed the US approach to global telecomms liberalisation.
It has taken issue with draft rules from Washington, the basis of the US implementation of the World Trade Oganisation?s (WTO) Basic Telecomms pact, which aims to fully liberalise the global market.
The EC's main problem is a rule that gives the US the right to deny telecomms licences on ?ill defined public interest and other grounds,? said EC officials. Some parties fear this could be used to discriminate against European companies, especially as rules are different for applicants affiliated with foreign telcos.
The Commission warned against three US proposals - the maintenance of ?unclear public interest factors? such as law enforcement, foreign policy or trade concerns in determining whether to grant licences; the use of ?very high risk to competition? as a justification for refusing a licence; and the assumption that different safeguards are needed for US carriers that are affilated with foreign telcos.
A spokesperson for the US Federal Communications Commission said US negotiators at the WTO telecomms conference in February had made it clear that any nation would want the right to exclude carriers on the grounds of national security.
The EC said it has urged the US to reconsider the proposals and will challenge them if necessary.
The WTO?s agreement was signed by 68 countries to allow foreign carriers to compete with their national operators by 1998. The pact should also drive down cost of international calls by 80 per cent, bringing many countries in line with the US which enjoys one of the lowest tariffs for overseas calls.
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