ICT: United States and Mauritius agree Fundamental Trade principles
This is an innovative step in Africa in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT). Under bilateral relations, Mauritius and United States have agreed on fundamental principles regarding trade in ICT-based services.
The aim is to ensure the development of ICT in strengthening legal and regulatory framework and to promote the deployment of networks.
These principles aim at integrating trade agreements with other countries. They will help to change trade rules into effective tools for opening ICT markets worldwide, thus benefiting all companies and consumers.
The U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk recently announced that a negotiating team headed by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has signed an agreement with Mauritius to promote these principles.
“I am pleased to announce another major milestone in our economic relations with Mauritius. This set of principles for the ICT is occurring for the first time between United States and an African country. This agreement will boost trade growth and investment between the two countries and help to generate more jobs in Mauritius and United States,” said the ambassador.
The adopted principles are summarized below:
- Transparency of rules concerning trade in ICT and ICT-based services;
- Opening of networks enabling consumers to obtain and disseminate information and use applications and services of their choice;
- Dissemination of information across national boundaries;
- No obligation to use local infrastructures providing services based on ICT;
- Approval by the government on unrestricted participation of foreign companies providing these services, by the recognition of an establishment right or by other means;
- Maximizing and optimizing the use of radio spectrum;
- Independence of regulatory authorities responsible for monitoring these services;
- Simple accreditation for the competitive supply of telecommunications services;
- Right, for the suppliers of these services, to connect with other suppliers for networks and telecommunications services which are publicly accessible, and possibility for providers of public telecommunications services, to negotiate and obtain interconnection with other major suppliers, as a non-discriminatory and transparent pricing reflecting costs;
- International cooperation to enhance digital literacy in third world countries, thus reducing “digital divide”.