Ict Ministers Presentation Final 14052010


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An overview of ICT policy issues facing the Caribbean region. Presented as part of the CTU Roadshow in May 2010

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Ict Ministers Presentation Final 14052010

  1. 1. A presentation to the Executive Lecture Series May 14th , 2010 St. Vincent and the Grenadines International Trends, TradeInternational Trends, Trade Agreements and their impact on theAgreements and their impact on the Regional ICT Development AgendaRegional ICT Development Agenda
  2. 2. ObjectiveObjective • Focus on macro economic concerns of ICT as an enabler of extra-regional trade and subject of FDI • Briefly discuss the I-economy, and the Caribbean experience thus far • Identify the key aspects of the ICT development pyramid, and how governments in their role as framework establishers can have an impact • Highlight existing trade agreements which either guide or constrain CARICOM ICT Policy development
  3. 3. the development of the global e-Economythe development of the global e-Economy 1990’sTODAY
  4. 4. The challenge facing the Caribbean e-The challenge facing the Caribbean e- economyeconomy Int’l telecoms • Traditionally Dominant form of tele-commerce in the region. • Net capital inflows • Reducing as providers migrate to VoIP solutions Internet based • Emerging as dominant form of communications • Popular applications such as WWW, e-mail and VoIP • Gross capital outflows - est. greater than US$100M annually… just to provide access to the Internet! Currently there are little Internet-based revenue inflows associated with the mere provision of access to the Internet
  5. 5. How do CARICOM States restructureHow do CARICOM States restructure themselves to optimally benefit from thethemselves to optimally benefit from the increased access to theincreased access to the Global Information Society?Global Information Society?
  6. 6. Overview of the relationship of keyOverview of the relationship of key information society conceptsinformation society concepts • The Information society is based on the premise of utilising automated processing systems to enhance service delivery to markets and persons anywhere in the world. • A fundamental presumption to achieve this goal is the provision of telecommunications services: – by extending the infrastructure grid to as many persons worldwide, – by commoditizing those services such that the cost of access is generally affordable The cumulative effect of positioning ICT-based services as the ubiquitous leveling agent for personal and economic development across the globe
  7. 7. • Upon the foundation of ubiquitous telecommunications is a platform supporting the transport and storage of commercial information. • As the core imperatives of commerce remain unchanged, this commercial information’s ready transmission creates opportunities for enhanced business relationships • This ease of exchange of such commercial information introduces new paradigms: – Where information is used to support transaction in transactions related to physical goods, and traditional services – Where information itself is the key commodity traded Overview of the relationship of keyOverview of the relationship of key information society conceptsinformation society concepts
  8. 8. Appropriate administration frameworkAppropriate administration framework for the Information Societyfor the Information Society • Administration of this paradigm is largely the oversight of domestic and international trade facilitation systems • Associated with these systems, there are considerations of protection and enforcement: – Law enforcement, – Customs administration, and – expeditious judicial arbitration • Further, to provide comfort to both consumers and investors these systems should encourage: – transparency in governance, and – the protection of personal and commercial privacy • These frameworks are essential before particular forms of commerce can be effected (e.g. e-payments, e- government etc.)
  9. 9. Services Telecoms, e-Commerce, Content and Application Industry formation Clustering, R&D, Capitalisation and supply chain integration Capital & Knowledge Brokering © Atiba Phillips InfoComm Technologies Ltd. Factor-Driven Economy Knowledge-based Economy Infrastructure Telecoms, Storage & authentication Systems Legal, Policy & Regulatory Framework
  10. 10. Overview ofOverview of existing commitmentsexisting commitments
  11. 11. existing Trade Agreementsexisting Trade Agreements • Regionally, Article 67 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas commits CARICOM Members to “harmonisation of standards and technical regulations, and transparency in the development and promulgation” • Extra-regionally, CARICOM have entered into binding commitments which generally impact the level of development and competition in its sector markets • CARICOM and its member states must remember the reference frameworks established by existing multi- lateral international treaties and agreements. These agreements include two major considerations today – WTO Basic Telecoms Agreement (BTA) and Reference Paper, and – the Sections related to Telecoms & ICT in the CARIFORUM/ EU EPA
  12. 12. WTO GATS – what it is and why it isWTO GATS – what it is and why it is importantimportant • Concluded in 1997, the Fourth Protocol to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) facilitates liberalization of trade in services. Two types of obligations exist under GATS: – general obligations that apply to all members and all service sectors covered under GATS regardless of whether or not specific commitments have been made; and – sector-specific commitments regarding market access and national treatment for sectors and activities that members agree to open to international tradeWTO Obligations provided much of the framework that has guided Telecoms policy work in the region for the last decade !
  13. 13. The EPA – what it is and why it is importantThe EPA – what it is and why it is important • Economic Partnership Agreements are a form of trade partnership, required by the Cotonou Agreement, which covers economic relations between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States • Concluded in 2008, the EPA ensures the following, among others, to signatory CARIFORUM nations: – Services and Investment • In general the liberalization of various service sectors should lead to increased investment and greater efficiencies. • The regional Services Sector stands to benefit from development assistance from the EU to address a range of needs, including development of regulatory regimes to build the capacity of regional services firms, …to facilitate greater interaction with EU firms. • Regional investors can benefit from liberalization in almost all sectors in the EU with only some exclusions in a few sectors and limitations in mainly the new EU member states.
  14. 14. The WTO/ EPA implementation frameworksThe WTO/ EPA implementation frameworks • WTO members and EPA signatories make commitments on market access and national treatment based on one of the following four modes of supply: • cross border supply • consumption abroad • commercial presence • presence of natural persons • Requires signatory states to adjust regulatory frameworks where necessary to effect market entry and trade in accordance with agreed commitments • Breach of said requirements has been known to lead to penalties applied to offending nations. A key test is to appreciate variances between obligations pursuant to WTO and the EPA
  15. 15. Overview of necessaryOverview of necessary TelecommunicationsTelecommunications ReformReform
  16. 16. Key common facets to TelecommunicationsKey common facets to Telecommunications reformreform • The ultimate objective is to ensure ubiquity of access, the establishment Universal Service Programmes • To ensure commoditisation of basic services, the encouragement of open, competitive domestic and international markets – Need to redefine key concepts in the telecommunications space, as well as how and where regulatory intervention is appropriate • the convergence of technologies affords the separation of regulatory oversight of the network and service components – particular focus in ensuring transparency and openness in licensing, – Regulatory focus on mitigating against the abuse of market power by providers
  17. 17. Comparison of Significant WTO/ EPA ClausesComparison of Significant WTO/ EPA Clauses Scope and definitionsScope and definitions WTO Reference Framework CARIFORUM/ EU EPA basic telecommunications services are public and private telecommunications services that involve end-to-end transmission of customer supplier information. These include voice telephone services, packet-switched data transmission services, circuit-switched data transmission services, telex services, telegraph services, facsimile services, and private leased circuit services. "telecommunications services" means all services consisting of the transmission and reception of electro-magnetic signals and do not cover the economic activity consisting of the provision of content which requires telecommunications for its transport
  18. 18. Implications of these definitionsImplications of these definitions • Definitions are very similar between these reference frameworks • The definition of these key terms are of significance to the definition of market structure, and clarify which segments are regulated and unregulated. These elements are critical to a harmonised approach of sector regulation across the region. As examples: Contemporary definitions do not distinguish between voice and data services in the definition of “telecommunications”, and thus the rights, obligations & regulatory oversight of such parties may not be expected to vary across these segments; The new approach to “essential facilities” and “major suppliers” must envisage a focus on elimination of abuse of competitive power of participants – not necessarily the incumbent; "public telecommunications network" means a public switched telecommunications network owned and operated by a carrier for the provision of telecommunications services to the public Telecommunications Act , Chap 282B, Barbados To note
  19. 19. Implications of these definitionsImplications of these definitions Other examples: The definition of “value added service” is as follows: services for which suppliers enhance the form or content of the customer’s information, thereby “adding value” to the customer’s information, and include electronic mail, voice mail, on-line information and data base retrieval, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), enhanced/value-added facsimile services, including store and forward, and store and retrieve, code and protocol conversion, on-line information and/or data processing (including transaction processing), and other services. In reforming our approach to market regulation, these and other key definitions should be revisited. " value added service” means a service, other than a public telecommunications service that, using a telecommunications service, provides or modifies content and applications not associated with the telecommunications service Telecommunications Act , Chap 47:31, Trinidad & Tobago To note
  20. 20. Comparison of Significant WTO/ EPA ClausesComparison of Significant WTO/ EPA Clauses AuthorisationAuthorisation WTO Reference Framework CARIFORUM/EU EPA GATS General Obligations and Disciplines Most Favoured Nation (BFN) Treatment (GATS Article II) – A licensing regime must grant market access to operators from a WTO member country on terms “no less favourable” that the terms applicable to operators from “any other country” Transparency (GATS Article III) – All laws and rules affecting trade in services must be published. - the Telecommunications Annex specifically requires publication of, among other things, all notification, registration or licensing requirements, if any as well as any other forms of recognition and approval needed before foreign service suppliers can do business lawfully in a member country Barriers to GATS (GATS Article VI) – Licensing requirements must not “constitute unnecessary barriers to trade.” Authorisation to provide telecommunications services 1. Provision of services shall, as much as possible, be authorised following mere notification.
  21. 21. Comparison of Significant WTO/ EPA ClausesComparison of Significant WTO/ EPA Clauses AuthorisationAuthorisation WTO Reference Framework CARIFORUM/EU EPA Where a license is required, the following shall be made publicly available: (a) All the licensing criteria and the period of time normally required to reach a decision concerning an application for a licence, and (b) The terms and conditions of individual licences The reasons for the denial of a licence will be made available to the applicant upon request 3. Where a licence is required: (a) all the licensing criteria and a reasonable period of time normally required to reach a decision concerning an application for a licence shall be made publicly available; (b) the reasons for the denial of a licence shall be made known in writing to the applicant upon request; (c) the applicant of a licence shall be able to seek recourse before an appeal body in case a licence is unduly denied; (d) licence fees required by the EC Party or by the Signatory CARIFORUM States for granting a licence shall not exceed the administrative costs normally incurred in the management, control and enforcement of the applicable licences. Any procedures for the allocation and use of scarce resources, including frequencies, numbers and rights of way, will be carried out in an objective, timely, transparent and non-discriminatory manner. The current state of allocated frequency bands will be made publicly available, but detailed identification of frequencies allocated for specific government uses in snot required. 2. A licence can be required to address issues of attributions of numbers and frequencies. The terms and conditions for such licences shall be made publicly available.
  22. 22. Implications of these conditionsImplications of these conditions • Note that here again, the provisions of the EPA seem substantially more prescriptive than the WTO Reference Framework:- – For assenting parties this may mean a revision of the requirement to issue an authorisation by the Minister before operation can begin. The latter being a prominent model in CARICOM. – There is a progressive drive to encouraging the prominence of competition law in the regulation of the sector. • The provisions regarding the licensing of telecommunications resources are consistent between the frameworks – requiring transparency and timeliness in administration. – The EPA does attempt to define the determination of the economic rent of the resources. 4 (2) In furtherance of his powers and duties under subsection (1),the Minister shall (d) issue licences in respect of the provision of telecommunications services Telecommunications Act , Chap 282B, Barbados To note 21. (1) No person shall operate a public telecommunications network, provide a public telecommunications service or broadcasting service, without a concession granted by the Minister. Telecommunications Act , Chap 47:31, Trinidad & Tobago To note 6. (1) The Minister may grant----(a) an individual licence; (b) a class licence; (c) a frequency authorization in respect of a licence; or (d) a special licence Telecommunications Act , 2000, Grenada To note
  23. 23. Overview of necessary ICTOverview of necessary ICT Trade Facilitation ReformTrade Facilitation Reform
  24. 24. Key Instruments in Trade Facilitation ReformKey Instruments in Trade Facilitation Reform • To ensure harmonisation of CARICOM laws with regard to default expectations and legal validity of contract-formation practices: – Electronic Transactions – Electronic Signatures – Electronic Evidence • Model best practice frameworks established by OECD, UNCITRAL – Model frameworks associated due to close linkages based on the concept of e-document authenticity.
  25. 25. Impact of existing international agreementsImpact of existing international agreements • Due to the recent development of e-commerce concerns, there is little evidence of existing trade agreements that reflect these considerations. • However Article 120 of CARIFORUM/ EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) includes: 1. The Parties shall maintain a dialogue on regulatory issues raised by electronic commerce, which will inter alia address the following issues: (a) the recognition of certificates of electronic signatures issued to the public and the facilitation of cross- border certification services; (b) the liability of intermediary service providers with respect to the transmission, or storage of information; (c) the treatment of unsolicited electronic commercial communications; (d) the protection of consumers in the ambit of electronic commerce; (e) any other issue relevant for the development of electronic commerce. 2. Such cooperation can take the form of exchange of information on the respective legislation of the Parties and the Signatory CARIFORUM States on these issues as well as on the implementation of such legislation. EPA, Art. 120 These seem to identify core concepts to be addressed by CARICOM members in preparation of appropriate legal framework for compliance with the EPA.
  26. 26. Key Instruments in Legal EnforcementKey Instruments in Legal Enforcement • To ensure development and harmonisation of CARIFORUM laws with regard to Law Enforcement and Judicial arbitration in the e-environment: – Cyber Crime – Interception of Electronic Communications – Electronic Evidence • EU Convention of Cyber-Crime (2001, 2006) provides frameworks of protection from computer-related fraud, illicit content, network security and protection of copyright
  27. 27. Impact of existing international agreementsImpact of existing international agreements • No perceived contention seem to arise RE: Law enforcement and judicial arbitration • On Customs administration it is notable that the EPA includes: Objective and principles 1. The Parties, recognising that electronic commerce increases trade opportunities in many sectors, agree to promote the development of electronic commerce between them, in particular by cooperating on the issues raised by electronic commerce under the provisions of this Title. 2. The Parties agree that the development of electronic commerce must be fully compatible with the highest international standards of data protection, in order to ensure the confidence of users of electronic commerce. 3. The Parties agree that deliveries by electronic means shall be considered as the provision of services, within the meaning of Chapter 3 of this Title, which cannot be subject to customs duties. EPA Art. 119 Subsection (3) of the EPA Article prescribes a point of Policy that was resisted by Least Developed Countries in the contentious Doha round of WTO negotiations
  28. 28. Other areas whereOther areas where Policy DecisionsPolicy Decisions are requiredare required
  29. 29. (Inter)Net Governance(Inter)Net Governance Three emerging concerns that will soon need to be ventilated include: • Along with the converged approach to regulating infrastructure – –What approach to treat with other aspects of “Net Neutrality” such as: • Ensuring non-discriminatory access to content & application services across networks? • Issues of piracy, and the appropriate mix of regulatory responsibility • Issues of national versus transnational and trans-regional regulation of the above content related issues? • Rationalisation of Top Level Domain administration –Should there be a regional TLD? • What are e-commerce advantages and/or incentives for the development of same?
  30. 30. (Inter)Net Governance(Inter)Net Governance • Harmonised regional strategy to address IPv4 – IPv6 migration and interoperability • Regional strategy to treat with the imbalanced current paradigm of commercial peering of IP Networks – As domestic competitive environments mature, this imbalance is the major source of Internet cost differential between Caribbean and extra-Caribbean users – As e-commerce grows, without a change in how we interact with the Internet, this threatens to remain a growing economic haemorrhage from the region that remains largely unchecked…
  31. 31. much of the infrastructure required for such a change exists today…
  32. 32. Despite the existing infrastructure:Despite the existing infrastructure: • Internet interaction for users in CARICOM states still involves interacting with hosts and systems which reside outside of the region. This arrangement also represents: – a single point of failure for regional Internet; and – a significant risk to information sovereignty • Region’s primary link to the outside world is through the US, where the arrangement entails unilateral payment for – bandwidth to transport traffic to and from the US; and – Access to the Internet backbone and the provision of transit services What are the realistic options that exist to allow CARICOM to reposition this arrangement?
  33. 33. well, there is an option…well, there is an option… • Efforts to revisit the peering/ Internet settlement regime into something which approximates to parity resulted in the World Telecommunications Standardisation Assembly 2000 which recommended that; “[parties] involved in the provision of international Internet connections negotiate and agree to bilateral commercial arrangements enabling direct international Internet connections that take into account the possible need for compensation between then for the value of elements such as traffic flow, number of routes, geographical coverage and cost of international transmission amongst others” However, this recommendation is not mandatory, and the US and Greece have not assented. However, other neighbors did assent …and practice it!
  34. 34. To break the cycle of dependence…To break the cycle of dependence… • CARICOM may need to establish as matters of coherent, articulated regional policy: – Clear incentives to encourage the regional market utilisation of regional resources for the hosting/ storage of applications/ content – Clear incentives to encourage bi-lateral cost sharing approaches to facilitate direct member-to-member ICT connectivity – Clear impetus to encourage diversification of routes out of the Caribbean basin, utilising Latin America (noting e-LAC) and Europe (?)
  35. 35. excerpts from the regional WSIS Action Planexcerpts from the regional WSIS Action Plan (eLAC2010) that may be leveraged(eLAC2010) that may be leveraged 14** Promote the development of infrastructure in each country and in the region, fostering the deployment of traffic nodes, the installation of copies of root servers and local content hosting, with the object of improving the network’s quality and stability and reducing access costs. 22** Promote the creation of specially-priced baskets of appropriate- content digital services for socially vulnerable sectors, including, but not limited to, older adults, children, rural communities, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, the unemployed, displaced persons and migrants. 60** Strengthen national policies for the information society from a regional perspective, including coordination and participation by public agencies, civil society and the private and academic sectors, within their respective roles and areas of responsibility, in the design and dissemination of ICT programmes.
  36. 36. In ConclusionIn Conclusion • To ensure the maximisation of economic benefits of the Internet- economy, CARICOM Member States must modernise and harmonise ICT Policy & legal frameworks to support administration of information- based products and services • International trade commitments stand to impact existing policy frameworks – work must be expedited to amend laws accordingly: – the EPA includes articles which are, in some instances more prescriptive than the WTO BTA with regard to (i) Scope & definitions, (ii) Authorisation/ Licensing and (iii) Universal Access/ Service • EPA provides comprehensive guidelines regarding Electronic Commerce, Data Protection, et al – The EPA includes articles which are binding on some aspects of e-Customs • OECD, UN and EU provide strong policy directions with regard to Access to/ Freedom of Information, Cyber-Crime and Interception of Communications
  37. 37. FurtherFurther…… • Work must begin to develop value added frameworks to first establish, and then strengthen the brand of CARICOM-based e-commerce products • Work must begin to transform regional frameworks to treat with issues of convergence such as content and address rationalisation • Work must continue to harmonise and strengthen rules and enforcement of intellectual property laws, both online and offline • Serious consideration of the viability of creating regional administrative institutions within the sphere of ICT’s All of these considerations are necessary pre-requisites for the CARICOM countries to develop from consumers and users into fuller, (net) revenue earning participants of the knowledge-based society!
  38. 38. Questions?Questions?
  39. 39. Thank YouThank You Kwesi PRESCOD Principal Consultant Prescod Associates & Co. PO Box 3228 Petit Valley TRINIDAD & TOBAGO Website: www.prescodassociates.com e-mail: kwesiprescod@prescodassociates.com Tel: +1 868 633 2951 Mobile: +1 868 688 4380 Fax: +1 868 632 3606