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Users' rights? The multilateral rules on access to telecommunications

By Lee Tuthill


Services industries rank among the most intensive users of telecommunications. The multilateral trade system recognizes this in the Annex on Telecommunications of the General Agreement on Trade in Services. The Annex guarantees suppliers of all liberalized commercial services reasonable and non-discriminatory access to basic telecommunications networks and services offered by all public telecommunications operators, whether or not they are government-owned or monopolies. This guarantee benefits telecommunications users engaged in any kind of services, including value-added and basic telecommunications. The Annex, along with some negotiating history, is explained, as are some of the ways users can benefit.

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