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ETNO supports EU-US agreement on trade-related ICT principles


18 Apr 2011



The European Commission and the U.S. Government, under the framework of the
Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC), have agreed on a set of 10 fundamental principles for trade in information and communication technology (ICT) services. The EU and the US, in cooperation with other countries, will promote these principles worldwide in order to support the global development of ICT networks and services and allow service providers to compete for contracts with local incumbents on an equal footing.

ETNO positively takes note of this agreement and also highlights the fact that the ICT sector was treated as a priority in the renewed TEC during 2011 in its efforts to boost global economy and foster growth, recognised as an increasingly important part of the infrastructure of other industries and sectors. “ETNO welcomes the choice of principles. In addition, ETNO would have welcomed further emphasis on issues key to European industry, such as recognition of the need for rules that foster the provision of convergent services, a level playing field in the area of data protection rules and the need to simplify trans-border data flows worldwide”, said David Frautschy, ETNO Special
Rapporteur on External Trade.

The on-going developments at both sides of the Atlantic aiming at setting new rules on data protection represent a unique opportunity to bring closer legal frameworks in the interest of citizens, industry and trade and economic growth in general.

The set of principles include a wide range of issues that are key and strategic for the ICT industry and can be summarised as follows:

-transparency of rules affecting trade in ICT and ICT services;
-open networks for consumers to access and distribute information, applications and services of their choice;
-cross-border flows of information;
-no requirement to use local infrastructure for ICT services;
-governments should allow full foreign participation in their ICT services sector;
-efficient and maximised use of radio spectrum;
-independence of regulatory authorities overseeing ICT services;
-simple authorisation of competitive telecommunications services;

-ICT service suppliers must have the right to negotiate on a commercial basis their
interconnection with other service providers for access to publicly available
telecommunications networks and services;

-international cooperation with a view to increasing the level of digital literacy.

As Vice-President Neelie Kroes recently said, "These principles, which both the EU and the US will seek to incorporate in their trade agreements with other countries, will help to ensure that trade rules are used as an effective tool to open up ICT markets worldwide to the benefit of all businesses and consumers."

And Commissioner Karel De Gucht has said, "The principles agreed today are an excellent example to demonstrate the important role the TEC can play in bringing transatlantic convergence activities to a higher political level. This will also help us when engaging with other trade partners."

Full text of the agreement:

For more information, please contact: Thierry Dieu, ETNO Communications Manager
Tel: (32-2) 219 32 42 Fax: (32-2) 219 64 12


ETNO’s 40 member companies from 35 European countries represent a significant part of total ICT activity in Europe. They account for an aggregate annual turnover of more than €250 billion and employ over one million people across Europe. ETNO companies are the main drivers of broadband and are committed to its continual growth in Europe.