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On February 15, 1997, sixty-nine governments signed an agreement seeking to liberalize the world telecommunications market - a market, according to Renato Ruggiero, the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), worth "well over half a trillion dollars per year." According to Ruggiero, these sixty-nine countries making commitments account for more than 90% of telecommunications revenue worldwide. In a statement issued February 17, 1997, Ruggerio congratulated the governments for their "determination and foresight in bringing this negotiation to a successful conclusion." Perhaps in acknowledgment of the many delays in concluding the agreement, Ruggiero said that not all the decisions had been easy. "But in the end," he concluded, "member governments have put their faith in the multilateral process of the WTO, and the WTO has delivered." Is that, however, truly the case? Is the WTO Agreement on Basic Telecommunications an agreement which the ever sober Economist said "[i]n scope alone ... is the most ambitious yet [of the WTO]" really a triumph for the WTO, the General Agreement on Trade in Services and the multilateral process as a whole?


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  • Subject
    • Communications Law

    • Intellectual Property Law

  • Journal title
    • Boston College Intellectual Property and Technology Forum

  • Volume
    • 1997

  • Pagination
    • 1-20

  • Date submitted

    17 October 2022

  • Related URL