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'Telecom sector: Brazil, India posing trade barriers'

April 04, 2013 12:35 IST

TelecomThe United States has commended Telecom Regulator Authority of India, for taking positive steps in 2012 to reduce access and co-location charges at India's submarine cable landing stations.

It, however, said there were localisation issues in Brazil, India, and Indonesia, which is affecting American businesses.

In its annual report on telecom sector, the US Trade Representative also said there were barrier concerns regarding supplying satellite services in China and India.

"Recent years have witnessed a growing trend among our trading partners to impose localisation barriers to trade designed to protect, favour, or stimulate domestic industries, service providers, or intellectual property.

"This is at the expense of imported goods, services, or foreign-owned or developed IP - and this trend is evident in the telecommunications sector," the acting United States Trade Representative Demetrios MarantisDemetrios Marantis said after releasing the report.

This year's report highlights the concern that US equipment manufacturers may be disadvantaged by the growing use of local content requirements in countries such as Brazil, India, and Indonesia, USTR said.

It said no foreign satellite operator is allowed to provide any Ku-band capacity to an end user in India unless it does so via Antrix.

India should allow end users in its country to contract directly, with any satellite operators that have the ability to serve in the country, in a manner that enables non- discriminatory market participation and complies with other relevant non-discriminatory requirements (e.g. relating to radio interference),

USTR said.

Commenting on the Direct-to-Home market in India, USTR said if the government of India does permit the use of foreign satellite capacity, the foreign satellite operator must sell the capacity to ISRO, which then resells the capacity to the end user.

"Thwarting foreign suppliers from developing direct relationships with DTH licensees does not appear justified and is of concern to USTR, as it puts US suppliers at a competitive disadvantage and deprives the DTH licensees a fuller range of service offerings," the report said.

The USTR commended the Telecom Regulator Authority of India, for taking positive steps in 2012 to reduce access and co-location charges at India's submarine cable landing stations.

"As Trai considers a methodology to reduce these changes to a more reasonable, cost-oriented level, USTR urges TRAI to amend the proposed methodology to ensure that these charges do not include costs for equipment that is not required for most access arrangements, and to officially publish the new revised fees as soon as the consultation process with industry is complete," the USTR report said.

According to the report, USTR will continue to engage India to seek ways to ensure that US telecommunications equipment manufacturers can continue to participate meaningfully in the Indian market, while also respecting security concerns of the Indian government.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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