US miffed at India’s local content requirement for telecom

Washington, April 4 (IANS) The US has highlighted the growing use of local content requirements in several countries, including India, among key barriers faced by US telecommunications service and equipment suppliers in their dealings abroad.

Acting United States Trade Representative (USTR) Demetrios Marantis Wednesday also identified several other specific issues in its annual report on the operation and effectiveness of telecommunications trade agreements on which USTR will focus its monitoring and enforcement efforts this year.

“Recent years have witnessed a growing trend among our trading partners to impose localization barriers to trade designed to protect, favour, or stimulate domestic industries, service providers, or intellectual property (IP)” Marantis said.

The review “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”, he said.

“It also outlines a range of other telecom barriers that USTR has spotted and intends to tackle with increased monitoring and enforcement in the coming year,” Marantis said.

Other India related issues listed in the review include:

Satellite services issues: Impediments faced by US satellite operators when seeking to serve customers in China and India include the requirement to sell satellite capacity exclusively through government-owned suppliers.

Submarine cable system issues: The review highlights the positive steps the government of India took in 2012 to improve access to India’s submarine cable landing stations, but notes the need for India to consider a methodology to eliminate unjustified costs imposed on suppliers.

Issues affecting telecommunications equipment trade: Flagging localisation concerns in Brazil, India, and Indonesia, the review also discusses the use of equipment standards and conformity assessment procedures that act as barriers to entry for US telecommunications equipment.

In the case of India, these include onerous security requirements for the importation of telecommunications network equipment and mandatory certification requirements and requirements for local testing.

Called the 1377 review after the relevant section of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, the annual report identifies issues relating to compliance by trade partners with trade agreements regarding telecommunications products and services.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])

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