NGBTNegotiations on Basic Telecommunications (World Trade Organization)
NGBTNegotiating Group on Basic Communications
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Questions relating to accounting rates occupied negotiators' attention in the first year of the NGBT.(43) Negotiators addressed the question of whether accounting rates set by international service providers were "measures" of a WTO Member for purposes of the GATS and, therefore, subject to the discipline of the GATS.
As a result, negotiators wrote the Reference Paper in the passive voice without any statement as to who would carry out the obligations.(57) Negotiators circulated a draft of the Reference Paper to all NGBT participants in December 1995 and January 1996.(58) The Chairman of the NGBT described the Reference Paper at the January 1996 meeting "as a tool to help participants arrive at an understanding of the kinds of commitments they might undertake on regulatory matters."(59)
The NGBT produced market access offers by many countries.
On April 30, 1996, the NGBT transmitted its final report(118) to the Council on Trade in Services.
Shortly prior to the conclusion of the NGBT, negotiators recognized that the scope of offers for satellite services was not clear.
(28.) The "Annex on Negotiations on Basic Telecommunications," an Annex to the GATS, suspended the MFN obligation until April 30, 1996, or the date of implementation of any agreement on basic telecommunications set by the NGBT. In the absence of the agreed-upon suspension contained in the Annex on Negotiations, the MFN obligation would have automatically applied in the basic telecommunications sector as it does in all other services sectors.