WTO documents on telecommunications and audiovisual

Sasha Costanza-Chock

Trade Observatory has published several documents related to media and trade that emerged from the Hong Kong WTO meeting. Check out the 'collective requests' (groups of countries making proposals in particular sectors of the economy) for telecommunications, computers and related services, as well as postal services.

The telecom offer contains a line on Universal Service that's typical: "3. Universal service:

Any Member has the right to define the kind of universal service obligation it wishes to maintain. Such obligations will not be regarded as anti-competitive per se, provided they are administered in a transparent, non-discriminatory and competitively neutral manner and are not more burdensome than necessary for the kind of universal service defined by the Member."

This isn't a frontal attack on universal service, but the devil's in the details. This clause in general and the phrase 'more burdensome than necessary'
in particular might be read as "minimal universal service policies will be allowed, if your country can afford to fight to keep them."