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WORLD TRADE
ORGANIZATION

WT/DS204/R
2 April 2004

(04-1211)

  Original: English

MEXICO – MEASURES AFFECTING
TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES

Report of the Panel


This report of the Panel on Mexico – Measures affecting Telecommunications Services is being circulated to all Members, pursuant to the DSU. The report is being circulated as an unrestricted document from 2 April 2004 pursuant to the Procedures for the Circulation and Derestriction of WTO Documents (WT/L/452).

Note by the Secretariat: This Panel Report shall be adopted by the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) within 60 days after the date of its circulation unless a party to the dispute decides to appeal or the DSB decides by consensus not to adopt the report. If the Panel Report is appealed to the Appellate Body, it shall not be considered for adoption by the DSB until after the completion of the appeal. Information on the current status of the Panel Report is available from the WTO Secretariat.

   

TABLE OF CONTENTS  

I. INTRODUCTION 

II. FACTUAL ASPECTS

A. MEXICO'S TELECOMMUNICATION MARKET 
 
B. MEXICO'S TELECOMMUNICATIONS LAWS AND REGULATIONS

1. Federal Telecommunications Law
2. International Long-distance Rules

C. THE COMPETITION LAWS OF MEXICO

1. Federal Law of Economic Competition
2. Code of Regulations (to Federal Law on Economic Competition)

D. MEXICO'S COMMITMENTS UNDER THE GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TRADE IN SERVICES (GATS)

III. PARTIES' REQUESTS FOR FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 

IV. MAIN ARGUMENTS OF THE PARTIES

A. SECTION 2 OF THE REFERENCE PAPER
1. Scope of application of the Reference Paper
2. The scope of "interconnection" within Mexico's Reference Paper
(a) The concept of interconnection
(b) The meaning of interconnection within the Reference Paper 
(i) Interpretation of the term "interconnection" in its context 
(ii) Subsequent practice 
(iii) Supplementary means of interpretation
aa) Negotiating history
bb) The international scope and bilateral nature of the accounting rate regime
cc) Circumstances of the conclusion of the treaty: Mexican legislation at the time of negotiations

(c) Whether the Reference Paper obligations extend to accounting rate regimes

(i) Concept of "accounting rate" 
(ii) Domestic interconnection v. accounting rates 

aa) Differences from a commercial point of view
bb) Differences from a contractual point of view
cc) Differences from a technical point of view
dd) Differences from a regulatory point of view


3. Specific Commitments of Mexico
(a) Definition of the service and mode of supply
(i) Definition of services
aa) Half-circuit v. full-circuit regimes
(b) Mexico's commitment on cross-border supply
(c) Meaning of the limitations inscribed
(i) Concession requirement
(ii) Routing requirement
(iii) Commercial agency permit requirement

4. Whether Telmex is a major supplier within the meaning of the Reference Paper
(a) The relevant market
(b) Whether Telmex has market power

5. Whether Telmex' interconnection rates are "basadas en costos"
(a) Whether Telmex interconnection rates are "based in cost"
(i) The meaning of "based in cost"
(ii) Whether Telmex interconnection rates are "based in cost"
aa) Costs based on maximum rates charged for network components
bb) "Grey market" rates for calls between the United States and Mexico 
cc) International proxies
dd) Financial compensation among Mexican operators relating to international calls

(b) Whether Telmex interconnection rates are "reasonable"

(i) The meaning of "reasonable"
(ii) Whether Telmex interconnection rates are "reasonable"

B. SECTION 1.1 OF THE REFERENCE PAPER: PREVENTION OF ANTI-COMPETITIVE PRACTICES IN TELECOMMUNICATIONS

1. Panel's standard of review
2. Section 1.1 of Mexico's Reference Paper

(a) Purpose of Section 1.1
(b) Extent of the requirement under Section 1.1

(i) "Appropriate measures" 

aa) Whether the ILD Rules are "appropriate measures" under Section 1.1
bb) Whether a proportionate return system could be an anti-competitive measure

(ii) "Major supplier" 
(iii) "Anti-competitive practices" 

aa) Definition of anti-competitive practices
bb) Government intervention
cc) Price fixing as an anti-competitive practice

(c) Relationship between Section 1.1 and Section 2.2(b) of the Reference Paper
(d) Relationship between Sections 1.1 and 3 of Mexico's Reference Paper

C. SECTION 5 OF THE GATS ANNEX ON TELECOMMUNICATIONS

1. Application of the Annex
2. Application of Sections 5(a) and 5(b) of the Annex

(a) Claims under Section 5(a) of the Annex 
(b) Claims under Section 5(b) of the Annex

3. Application of Sections 5(e), 5(f) and 5(g) of the Annex

V. ARGUMENTS OF THE THIRD PARTIES
A. AUSTRALIA

1. Informal Understanding on Accounting Rates
2. Scope of "interconnection" in Section 2 of the Reference Paper 
3. Interconnection and accounting rates
4. Meaning of "cost-oriented" rates in section 2.2(b) of the Reference Paper

B. BRAZIL

1. Introduction
2. Scope and reach of specific commitments
3. Non-discrimination and the concept of "like circumstances"

C. EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES

1. Interpretation of Mexico's specific commitment under mode 1 
2. Mexico's commitments under mode 3 
3. Application of the interconnection rules contained in the Reference Paper
4. Rates relating to termination of international calls
5. The meaning of "reasonable" 
6. Requirements of Section 1 
7. Applicability of the Annex on Telecommunications 
8. The notion of likeness

D. JAPAN

1. Validity for an action by the United States 
2. The term "cost oriented" 
3. The term "cost-based" 
4. Election of a uniform accounting rate and proportionate return system

VI. INTERIM REVIEW

VII. FINDINGS
 

A. INTRODUCTION 

1. Telecommunications in the WTO 
2. Measures at issue in this dispute 
3. Mexico's legal framework for the regulation of telecommunications services 
4. Rules of interpretation
5. Order of analysis of the claims

B. WHETHER MEXICO HAS FULFILLED ITS COMMITMENTS UNDER SECTIONS 2.1 AND 2.2 OF THE REFERENCE PAPER

1. Whether Mexico has undertaken an interconnection commitment, in Section 2 of its Reference Paper, with respect to the telecommunications services at issue 

(a) What are the services at issue? 
(b) Are the services at issue supplied cross-border? 
(c) Has Mexico undertaken commitments on the cross-border supply of the services at issue? 

(i) Cross-border services in Mexico's Schedule 

aa) Service sectors inscribed in Mexico's Schedule 
bb) Introductory heading
cc) Supplementary documents used to schedule commitments 

i) Description of the supplementary documents

– Draft Model Schedule
– The Note by the Chairman
– Scheduling Guidelines 

ii) Interpretative value of the supplementary documents

dd) Mexico's cross-border telecommunications commitments

(ii) Market access and national treatment commitments for cross-border supply
(iii) Mexico's "routing restriction"

aa) "International traffic"
bb) "Routed through the facilities"
cc) "Enterprise that has a concession"

(d) Do Mexico's specific commitments provide "the basis" for its additional commitment on interconnection?

(e) Do Mexico's additional commitments on interconnection apply to suppliers of cross-border services?

(i) Ordinary meaning
(ii) Context provided by the term "interconnection"
(iii) Other contextual elements
(iv) Object and purpose
(v) Supplementary means – the "Understanding"
(vi) Supplementary means – other 

2.  Whether Mexico has fulfilled its interconnection commitment, in Section 2.2(b) of its Reference Paper, with respect to the services at issue

(a) Is Telmex a "major supplier"?

(i) What is the "relevant market for basic telecommunications services"?
(ii) Does Telmex have "the ability to materially affect the terms of participation (having regard to price and supply)" in that market?
(iii) If Telmex has the ability to materially affect the terms of participation in that market, does it result from "control over essential facilities", or "use of its position in the market"?

(b) Are the Telmex interconnection rates "cost-oriented"?

(i) Meaning of "cost-oriented" rates
(ii) Does Telmex interconnect United States suppliers at cost-oriented rates?

aa) Comparison with domestic prices in Mexico for the same network components

i) Relevant network components
ii) Prices for the relevant network components

– Termination in Zone 1 (large cities)
– Termination in Zone 2 (medium cities)
– Termination in Zone 3 (other cities)

iii) Difference between component prices and Telmex rates

bb) Comparison with "grey market" prices on the Mexico-United States route
cc) Comparison with termination rates on other international routes
dd) "Proportionate return" procedures among Mexican operators

(iii) Are the Telmex interconnection terms and conditions "reasonable"?

C. WHETHER MEXICO HAS MET ITS COMMITMENT UNDER SECTION 1 OF ITS REFERENCE PAPER 

1. Is Telmex a "major supplier"?
2. What are "anti-competitive practices"?

(a) Meaning of "anti-competitive practices"
(b) Whether practices required under a Member's law can be "anti-competitive practices"

3. Do the ILD Rules require a major supplier to engage in "anti-competitive practices"?

(a) What acts do the ILD Rules require of Telmex and other Mexican operators?

(i) Uniform settlement rate
(ii) Proportionate return

(b) Are the acts required of Telmex and other Mexican operators "anti-competitive practices"?

(i) Uniform settlement rate
(ii) Proportionate return

4. Has Mexico maintained "appropriate measures" to prevent anti-competitive practices by a major supplier?

D. WHETHER MEXICO HAS MET ITS OBLIGATION UNDER SECTION 5 OF THE GATS ANNEX ON TELECOMMUNICATIONS

1. Whether the Annex imposes obligations on Mexico to ensure access to and use of public telecommunications transport networks and services for the supply of the basic telecommunications services scheduled by Mexico 

(a) Does the Annex apply to access to and use of public telecommunications transport networks and services for the supply of basic telecommunications services?
(b) Does Section 5 of the Annex apply to the basic telecommunications commitments scheduled by Mexico?

2. Whether Mexico has fulfilled its obligations under Section 5 of the Annex

(a) Structure of Section 5
(b) Claim under Section 5(a)

(i) "Any service supplier of any other Member"
(ii) With respect to "public telecommunications transport networks and services"
(iii) "For the supply of a service included in its schedule"
(iv) "On reasonable … terms and conditions" 

aa) Rates charged for access and use
bb) Underlying ILD Rules 

(c) Claim under Section 5(b) of the Annex 

(i) Whether Mexico has a commitment in effect to allow commercial agencies to supply the services at issue through commercial presence (mode 3)
(ii) Whether Mexico's commitments on the supply of the services at issue by commercial agencies through commercial presence include the supply of international telecommunications services (from Mexico to the United States) through mode 3
(iii) Access to and use of private leased circuits
(iv) Interconnection of private leased circuits
(v) Subject to paragraphs (e) and (f)

(d) Invocation of Section 5(g)

VIII. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATION

IX. ANNEXES

A. ABBREVIATIONS USED FOR DISPUTE SETTLEMENT CASES REFERRED TO IN THE REPORT
B. MEXICO: SCHEDULE OF SPECIFIC COMMITMENTS, SUPPLEMENT 2
C. ILD RULES


I. INTRODUCTION

1.1 On 17 August 2000, the United States requested consultations with Mexico pursuant to Article 4 of the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (the "DSU") and Article XXIII of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (the "GATS").1 This request concerned Mexico's GATS commitments and obligations on basic and value-added telecommunications services.

1.2 The consultations took place on 10 October 2000, but the parties failed to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution. On 10 November 2000, the United States requested the Dispute Settlement Body (the "DSB") to establish a panel, in accordance with Articles 4 and 6 of the DSU, in order to examine Mexico's measures with respect to trade in basic and value-added telecommunications services.2 On the same date, the United States requested additional consultations with Mexico, pursuant to Article 4 of the DSU and Article XXIII of the GATS, regarding Mexico's measures affecting trade in telecommunications services.3 The additional consultations took place on 16 January 2001, but the parties failed again to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution. On 13 February 2002, the United States again requested the DSB to establish a panel, in accordance with Articles 4 and 6 of the DSU in order to examine Mexico's measures affecting telecommunications services.4

1.3 At its meeting on 17 April 2002, the DSB established a Panel in accordance with Article 6 of the DSU.5 At that meeting, the parties agreed that the Panel should have standard terms of reference as follows:

"To examine, in the light of the relevant provisions of the covered agreements cited by the United States in document WT/DS204/3, the matter referred to the DSB by the United States in that document, and to make such findings as will assist the DSB in making the recommendations or in giving the rulings provided for in those agreements."6

1.4 On 16 August 2002, the United States requested the Director-General to determine the composition of the Panel pursuant to Article 8.7 of the DSU, which provides:

"If there is no agreement on the panelists within 20 days after the date of the establishment of a panel, at the request of either party, the Director-General, in consultation with the Chairman of the DSB and the Chairman of the relevant Council or Committee, shall determine the composition of the panel by appointing the panelists whom the Director-General considers most appropriate in accordance with any relevant special or additional rules or procedures of the covered agreement or covered agreements which are at issue in the dispute, after consulting with the parties to the dispute. The Chairman of the DSB shall inform the Members of the composition of the panel thus formed no later than 10 days after the date the Chairman receives such a request."

1.5 On 26 August 2002, the Director-General composed the Panel as follows:7

Chairman: Mr Ernst-Ulrich Petersmann
Members:
 
Mr Raymond Tam
Mr Björn Wellenius

1.6 Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, the European Communities, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Japan and Nicaragua reserved their rights to participate in the Panel proceedings as third parties.

1.7 The Panel met with the parties on 17 and 18 December 2002 and on 12 and 13 March 2003. The Panel met with the third parties on 18 December 2002.

1.8 The Panel submitted its Interim Report to the parties on 21 November 2003. The Panel submitted its final report to the parties on 12 March 2004.

II. FACTUAL ASPECTS

2.1 This dispute concerns provisions in Mexico's domestic laws and regulations on telecommunications which govern the supply of telecommunication services.

A. MEXICO'S TELECOMMUNICATION MARKET

2.2 Prior to 1997, long-distance and international telecommunications services in Mexico were supplied on a monopoly basis by Teléfonos de México, S.A. de C.V. ("Telmex"). Since that date, Mexico has authorized multiple Mexican carriers to provide international services over their networks. Under Mexican laws, the largest carrier of outgoing calls to a particular international market, has the exclusive right to negotiate the terms and conditions for the termination of international calls in Mexico that apply to any carrier between Mexico and that international market.8 Telmex is presently the largest carrier of outgoing calls for all markets. Currently, there are 27 carriers ("concesionarios" or "concessionaires") allowed to provide long distance services, including two United States-affiliated carriers – Avantel (WorldCom) and Alestra (AT/T).9 Of these 27 long-distance concessionaries 11 are authorized to operate international gateways, allowing them to carry incoming and outgoing international calls.10 Telmex remains the largest supplier of basic telecommunications services in Mexico, including international outbound traffic.

B. MEXICO'S TELECOMMUNICATIONS LAWS AND REGULATIONS

1. Federal Telecommunications Law

2.3 The Federal Telecommunications Law (the "FTL") of Mexico provides the legal framework for the regulation of telecommunications activities in Mexico.11 Its purpose is "to govern the use, utilization and exploitation of the radio-electrical spectrum, of the telecommunications networks, and of satellite communication".12 More broadly, it is intended to "promote efficient development of telecommunications; exercise the authority of the State on these matters to ensure national sovereignty; to promote a healthy competition among the different telecommunications service providers in order to offer better services, diversity and quality for the benefit of the users and to promote an adequate social coverage".13

2.4 The FTL establishes a Secretariat of Communications and Transportation ("Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes" or "Secretariat"), which is authorized, inter alia, to grant concessions required for "installing, operating or exploiting public telecommunications networks".14 A concession may only be granted to a Mexican individual or company, and any foreign investment therein may not exceed 49 per cent15, except for cellular telephone services.16

2.5 Special rules apply to "comercializadoras" ("commercial agencies").17 A commercial agency is any entity which, "without being the owner or possessor of any transmission media, provides telecommunication services to third parties using the capacity of a public telecommunications network concessionaire."18 A concessionaire of a public telecommunications network may not, without permission of the Secretariat, have "any direct or indirect interest in the capital" of a commercial agency.19 The establishment and operation of commercial agencies is "subject, without exception, to the respective regulatory provisions".20 The Secretariat has issued regulations for commercial agencies to provide pay public telephone public telephony services (pay phones).21

2.6 The "interconnection" of public telecommunications networks with foreign networks is carried out through agreements entered into by the interested parties.22 Should these require agreement with a foreign government, the concessionaire must request the Secretariat to enter into the appropriate agreement.23

2.7 Several fundamental technical terms are defined in the FTL. These are:

2.8 Telecommunications: "every broadcast, transmission or reception of signs, signals, written data, images, voice, sound or data of whatever nature carried out through wires, radio-electricity, optic or physical means or any other electromagnetic systems";

2.9 Telecommunications network: "systems integrated by means of transmission such as channels or circuits using frequency bands of the radio-electrical spectrum, satellite links, wiring, electric transmission networks or any other transmission means, as well as when applicable, exchanges, switching devices or any other equipment required";

2.10 Private telecommunications network: "the telecommunications network used to meet specific requirements for telecommunications services of certain people not implying commercial exploitation of services or capacity of said network";

2.11 Public telecommunications network: "the telecommunications network through which telecommunications services are commercially exploited. The network does not include users' terminal telecommunications equipment nor telecommunications networks located beyond the terminal connection point".24

2. International Long-distance Rules

2.12 The International Long Distance Rules ("ILD Rules") are issued by the Federal Telecommunications Commission ("Comisión Federal de Telecomunicaciones" or "Commission"), an agency of the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation.25 They serve "to regulate the provision of international long-distance service and establish the terms to be included in agreements for the interconnection of public telecommunications networks with foreign networks."26 International long-distance service is defined as the service whereby all international switched traffic is carried through long-distance exchanges authorized as international gateways.27

2.13 Direct interconnection with foreign public telecommunications networks in order to carry international traffic may only be done by "international gateway operators".28 These are long-distance service licensees authorized by the Commission "to operate a switching exchange as an international gateway"29, that is, the exchange is "interconnected to international incoming and outgoing circuits authorised by the Commission to carry international traffic".30 Traffic is "switched" when it is "carried by means of a temporary connection between two or more circuits between two or more users, allowing the users the full and exclusive use of the connection until it is released."31

2.14 Each international gateway operator must apply the same "uniform settlement rate" to every long-distance call to or from a given country, regardless of which operator originates or terminates the call.32 The uniform settlement rate for each country is established, through negotiations with the operators of that country, by the long-distance service licensee having the greatest percentage of outgoing long-distance market share for that country in the previous six months.33

2.15 Each international gateway operator must also apply the principle of "proportionate return". Under this principle, incoming calls (or associated revenues) from a foreign country must be distributed among international gateway operators in proportion to each international gateway operator's market share in outgoing calls to that country.34

2.16 Private cross-border networks must lease capacity from a long-distance licensee (concessionaire).35 Any cross-border traffic carried through dedicated infrastructure that forms part of a private network must be originated and terminated within the same private network.36

C. THE COMPETITION LAWS OF MEXICO

1. Federal Law of Economic Competition37

2.17 The Federal Law of Economic Competition ("Ley Federal de Competencia Económica" or "FLEC") is intended "to protect the process of competition and free market participation, through the prevention and elimination of monopolies, monopolistic practices and other restrictions that deter the efficient operation of the market for goods and services."38

2.18 Under the law, the "relevant market" is determined by considering, inter alia, "the possibilities of substituting the goods or services in question, with others of domestic or foreign origin, bearing technological possibilities, and the extent to which substitutes are available to consumers and the time required for such substitution".39 Whether an economic agent has "substantial power" in the relevant market is determined, inter alia, on "the share of such agent in the relevant market and the possibility to fix prices unilaterally or to restrict supply in the relevant market, without competitive agents being able, presently or potentially, to offset such power".40

2. Code of Regulations (to Federal Law on Economic Competition)41

2.19 The Code of Regulations to the FLEC sets out in detail the rules, inter alia, for the analysis of the relevant market and substantial power.

2.20 For the relevant market analysis, the Code states that the Commission shall "identify the goods or services which make up the relevant market, whether produced, marketed or supplied by the economic agents, and those that are or may be substituted for them, whether domestic or foreign, as well as the time required for such substitution to take place." The Commission is also to take into account "economic and normative restrictions of a local, federal or international nature which prevent access to the said substitute goods or services, or which prevent the access of users or consumers to alternative sources of supply, or the access of the suppliers to alternative customers".42

2.21 With respect to substantial power, the Code requires the authorities to take into account the "degree of positioning of the goods or services in the relevant market"; the "lack of access to imports or the existence of high importation costs"; and the "existence of high cost differentials which could face consumers on turning to other suppliers."43

D. MEXICO'S COMMITMENTS UNDER THE GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TRADE IN SERVICES (GATS)

2.22 Mexico has undertaken specific commitments for telecommunications services under Articles XVI (Market Access), XVII (National Treatment), and Article XVIII (Additional Commitments). Its additional commitments consist of undertakings known as the "reference paper". These commitments are reproduced in Annex B.

III. PARTIES' REQUESTS FOR FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

3.1 The United States requests the Panel to find that:44

(a) Mexico's failure to ensure that Telmex provides interconnection to United States basic telecom suppliers on a cross‑border basis on cost‑oriented, reasonable rates, terms and conditions is inconsistent with its obligations under Sections 2.1 and 2.2 of the Reference Paper, as inscribed in Mexico's GATS Schedule of Commitments, GATS/SC/56/Suppl.2; in particular, that:

(i) Mexico's Reference Paper obligations apply to the terms and conditions of interconnection between Telmex and United States suppliers of basic telecommunications services on a cross-border basis;

(ii) Telmex is a "major supplier" of basic telecommunications services in Mexico, as that term is used in Mexico's Reference Paper obligations;

(iii) Mexico has failed to ensure that Telmex provides interconnection to United States suppliers at rates that are "basadas en costos" and terms and conditions that are razonables because:

- Mexico has allowed Telmex to charge an interconnection rate that substantially exceeds cost,

- Mexico allows Telmex to restrict the supply of scheduled basic telecommunications services; and

- Mexico prohibits the use of any alternative to the Telmex negotiated interconnection rate through Mexico's ILD rules, specifically Rule 13 along with Rules 3, 6, 10, 22 and 23.

(iv) Mexico's ILD Rules (specifically Rule 13 along with Rules 3, 6, 10, 22 and 23) fail to ensure that Telmex provides cross‑border interconnection in accordance with Section 2.2 of the Reference Paper.

(b) Mexico's failure to maintain measures to prevent Telmex from engaging in anti-competitive practices is inconsistent with its obligations under Section 1.1 of the Reference Paper; as inscribed in Mexico's GATS Schedule of Commitments, GATS/SC/56/Suppl.2; and in particular, that Mexico's ILD Rules (specifically Rule 13 along with Rules 3, 6, 10, 22 and 23) empower Telmex to operate a cartel dominated by itself to fix rates for international interconnection and restrict the supply of scheduled basic telecommunications services;

(c) Mexico's failure to ensure United States basic telecom suppliers reasonable and non‑discriminatory access to, and use of, public telecom networks and services is inconsistent with its obligations under Sections 5(a) and (b) of the GATS Annex on Telecommunications; and in particular, Mexico failed to ensure that United States service suppliers may access and use public telecommunications networks and services through:

(i) interconnection at reasonable terms and conditions for the supply of scheduled services by facilities‑based operators and commercial agencies; and

(ii) private leased circuits for the supply of scheduled services by facilities‑based operators and commercial agencies.

3.2 The United States also requests that the Panel recommend that Mexico bring its measures into conformity with its obligations under the GATS.

3.3 Mexico requests that the Panel reject all of the claims of the United States, and find that:

(a) The measures being challenged by the United States are not inconsistent with Sections 2.1 and 2.2 of the Reference Paper, inscribed in Mexico's GATS Schedule of Specific Commitments;

(b) Mexico has not acted inconsistently with its obligations under Section 1.1 of the Reference Paper, inscribed in Mexico's GATS Schedule of Specific Commitments; and

(c) The measures being challenged by the United States are not inconsistent with Section 5 of the GATS Annex on Telecommunications.45

IV. MAIN ARGUMENTS OF THE PARTIES

A. SECTION 2 OF THE REFERENCE PAPER

4.1 The United States claims that Mexico's ILD Rules fail to ensure that Telmex provides interconnection to United States basic telecom suppliers on a cross-border basis with cost-oriented, reasonable rates, terms and conditions and that this is inconsistent with its obligations under Sections 2.1 and 2.2 of the Reference Paper, as inscribed in Mexico's GATS Schedule of Commitments.46 The United States argues that the interconnection obligations in Section 2 of the Reference Paper apply: (i) as legally binding GATS commitments; (ii) because of the specific commitments Mexico has undertaken in its GATS Schedule; and (iii) to the circumstances at issue in this case, namely the interconnection between United States service suppliers and Telmex for the purpose of delivering their basic telecom services from the United States into Mexico.47

4.2 Mexico argues that the claims of the United States must fail because Mexico's Reference Paper obligations do not apply to the measures at issue in this dispute, namely the accounting rates set by bilateral agreements between the United States and Mexican basic telecommunications carriers.48 In the alternative, Mexico argues, if Section 2 of the Reference Paper is found to apply to the accounting rate regime as implemented between the United States and Mexico, the United States has nevertheless failed to establish a prima facie case that the accounting rates negotiated between United States and Mexican carriers are not "basadas en costos" ("cost-oriented") and "razonables" ("reasonable") pursuant to Section 2.2(b) of Mexico's Reference Paper.49 Moreover, Mexico argues, the United States has failed to establish that the ILD Rules are inconsistent with Section 2.2 of the Reference Paper.50

1. Scope of application of the Reference Paper

4.3 The United States argues that Mexico undertook the interconnection obligations of Section 2 of the Reference Paper as additional binding commitments under Article XVIII of the GATS. According to the United States, Mexico inscribed the entire text of the Reference Paper into its Schedule as an additional commitment.51 Therefore, the United States argues, pursuant to Article XVIII of the GATS, Mexico committed to the United States (and all other WTO Members) that it would abide by the strict terms and conditions contained in Section 2 of the Reference Paper. In particular, the United States argues, Mexico committed that it would ensure that its major supplier of basic telecom services Telmex provides interconnection at rates that are based in cost and are reasonable.52

4.4 Mexico submits that its Reference Paper does not apply to the accounting rates set by bilateral agreements between United States and Mexican basic telecommunications carriers53 since it governs matters relating to domestic regulation.54 Mexico argues that the United States fails to recognize that the Reference Paper is a statement of "definitions and principles" that have the objective of guiding domestic regulators in dealing with major telecommunications suppliers.55 According to Mexico, the Reference Paper was intended to accommodate different political and legal regimes in WTO Members, and is sufficiently flexible to accommodate differences in market structures and regulatory philosophies.56 In Mexico's view, this means that the principles and definitions in the Reference Paper must be interpreted in the light of the domestic regulatory system of the WTO Member in question.57 Mexico considers that in this case, because its domestic regulatory regime distinguishes between: (i) the accounting rate regime applicable to traffic exchange between foreign carriers and Mexican concessionaires; and (ii) the regime that is applicable to carriers within Mexico's borders, the United States' challenge under Section 2 of the Reference Paper must fail.58

4.5 Mexico notes that Section 2 of the Reference Paper contains a number of requirements as to how a major supplier must provide interconnection, with the goal of promoting competition within domestic markets; that is, preventing a major supplier from using its position to prevent new entrant competitors from participating in the domestic market. In contrast, Mexico argues, because carriers from different countries that enter into accounting rate arrangements are not competing with each other, the requirements of the Reference Paper have no meaning for those arrangements.59

4.6 The United States contends that there is nothing in the Reference Paper to suggest that its only goal was to promote domestic competition. In its view, there is no textual basis for concluding that the Reference Paper is limited to one mode of supply of the service, i.e. that which is solely within its territory. Instead, the United States notes, Article I of the GATS states that the Agreement covers all measures affecting trade in services, including the cross-border supply of services. While the United States asserts that it is undoubtedly true that the Reference Paper "governs matters relating to domestic regulation", it further submits that this does not mean that foreign service suppliers are "outside the scope of application of" the Reference Paper, or that the Reference Paper governs only matters relating to domestic regulation.60

4.7 Mexico argues that the mere fact that Article I of the GATS ascribes a broad application of the general obligations of the GATS to all measures by Members affecting trade in services does not mean that Mexico's Reference Paper has a similarly broad application. Mexico submits that it is an "additional commitment" that it inscribed in its Schedule pursuant to Article XVIII of the GATS and, as such, its terms must be interpreted in accordance with the rules of treaty interpretation in Articles 31 and 32 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of the Treaties of 1969 ("Vienna Convention").61 According to Mexico, the Model Reference Paper, upon which Mexico's Reference Paper is based, develops further the principles and obligations found in Article VI of the GATS on domestic regulation and Article VIII of the GATS on monopolies and exclusive service suppliers, both of which focus on activities within the territory of the Member in question. Thus, Mexico concludes, these Articles deal with matters relating to domestic regulation, and not "the supply of a service from the territory of one Member into the territory of any other Member", which is the focus of the United States' claims in this dispute.62

4.8 The United States contends that Section 2 applies to this case because United States suppliers of basic switched telecom services seek to link with Telmex to connect calls by their users originating in the United States to Telmex's users in Mexico. According to the United States, Telmex and United States basic telecom suppliers are proveedores de redes públicas de telecomunicaciones de transporte o de servicios ("suppliers providing public telecommunications transport networks or services") ("PTTNS") because they provide basic telecommunications services, which, pursuant to the Decision on Negotiations on Basic Telecommunications by the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee, is synonymous with "telecommunications transport networks and services"; also, it adds, such services are "public" because the Central Product Classification (CPC) codes that Mexico used to describe its commitments refer to "public" services. The United States further argues that supply on a cross-border basis of basic telecom services between the United States and Mexico requires "linking" (conexión) between United States suppliers (e.g., AT&T) and Mexican suppliers (e.g., Telmex) in order to allow users of the United States supplier to communicate with users of the Mexican supplier and to access services provided by the Mexican supplier.63 According to the United States, this is because under Mexican law, United States basic telecom suppliers may not own telecommunications facilities in Mexico and thereby extend their public telecommunications networks from the United States into Mexico. Therefore, the United States argues, when a United States basic telecom supplier provides telecommunications services from the territory of the United States into the territory of Mexico, it must link its network or a leased line to the network of a Mexican service supplier (such as Telmex) and pay that Mexican service supplier to "terminate" (i.e., deliver) the phone call to the end-user in Mexico.64 This conexión, in turn, allows the consumers of the United States basic telecom supplier ("users of one supplier") to communicate with Telmex's consumers in Mexico ("users of another supplier"), as well as the United States service supplier ("user") to access services provided by Telmex ("another supplier"), namely the services involved in delivering a call that originated in the United States to its final destination in Mexico.65

4.9 Mexico argues that the apparently broad technical definition of "interconnection" in Section 2.1 of Mexico's Reference Paper66 is not determinative of the scope of application of Section 2 as a whole. In Mexico's view, this definition must be interpreted in its context, which substantially narrows the scope of application of Section 2. Mexico explains that interconnection occurs between two entities. With respect to one entity, the wording of Section 2.2 restricts the scope of Section 2 to interconnection with a "major supplier". With respect to both entities, the definition in Section 2.1 refers to "suppliers providing public telecommunications transport networks or services". Mexico contends that, although suppliers in Mexico provide PTTNS in Mexico, i.e. Alestra and Avantel, thus enabling both suppliers in an interconnection arrangement to meet this definition, United States-based suppliers such as AT&T and WorldCom do not provide such services in Mexico. Thus, Mexico argues, meaning must be given to the fact that Section 2.1 does not refer to "service suppliers of any other Member", a phrase which is used elsewhere in the GATS and which would have made it clear that Section 2 applies to cross-border (i.e., international) interconnection. Mexico also submits that the phrase "respecto de los cuales se contraigan compromisos específicos" in Section 2.1 of Mexico's Reference Paper further narrows the scope of application of Section 2 to the bounds of the market access inscribed in Mexico's Schedule. Thus, it argues, Section 2 applies only to services supplied in Mexico through mode 3 (commercial presence) by concessionaires with foreign direct ownership up to 49 per cent. In other words, Mexico concludes, it applies only to interconnection within Mexico.67

4.10 The United States submits that, if Mexico had meant to limit the applicability of Section 2 to interconnection of "some" suppliers with a major supplier, it would have adopted language to that effect. In the absence of any such limitation, the United States contends, Section 2 applies to interconnection of "all" suppliers with a major supplier. For context, the United States refers to the definition in Article XXVIII(g) of the GATS, which states that "'service supplier' means any person that supplies a service." According to the United States, there is no limitation on whether the service supplier is domestic or foreign.68

2. The scope of "interconnection" within Mexico's Reference Paper

(a) The concept of interconnection

4.11 The United States submits that interconnection consists of the linking of the networks of two different suppliers of telecommunications services for the purpose of exchanging traffic. According to the United States, interconnection is the necessary intermediary step that enables a phone call to travel from the network used by the person placing the call (the "calling party") to the network used by the person receiving the call (the "receiving party").69 The United States explains that, because no telecom supplier has a worldwide ubiquitous network, all telecommunications service suppliers rely on another service supplier to deliver (or "terminate") the phone call to the receiving party when the receiving party is not on the network of the calling party's supplier. To do so, it argues, the calling party's service supplier must link to the network of the receiving party's service supplier and hand-off the call for delivery to the receiving party. In other words, the United States submits, the calling party's service supplier interconnects its network with that of the receiving party's service supplier to enable users of both networks to communicate with each other.70

4.12 The United States submits that, whether for the purpose of origination or termination, interconnection is generally understood as the linking between the networks of different basic telecom suppliers for the purpose of allowing users of one supplier to communicate with users of another. In support of its view, the United States refers to Section 2.1 of the Reference Paper, which defines interconnection as "linking with suppliers providing public telecommunications transport networks or services in order to allow the users of one supplier to communicate with users of another supplier and to access services provided by another supplier". The United States also notes that in its domestic regulation, Mexico defines interconnection similarly as "[p]hysical and logical connection between two public telecommunications networks, that allows the exchange of switched public traffic between the switching central offices of both networks. The interconnection allows the users of one of the networks to interconnect and exchange public switched traffic with the users of the other network and vice versa, or to use the services provided by the other network."71

4.13 The United States also refers to the definition of "interconnection" in the European Communities' Interconnection Directive as "the physical and logical linking of telecommunications networks used by the same or a different organization in order to allow the users of one organization to communicate with users of the same or another organization, or to access services provided by another organization."72 The United States submits that the European Commission has explained that "[t]he most basic interconnection service provided is that of call termination (i.e. delivering a call which originates on one network to its destination on another network)."73

4.14 In Mexico's view, the term "interconnection" is a broad concept that can have different meanings in different contexts. Generally, it explains, interconnection rates are charges for physically and technically linking two domestic networks for purposes of exchanging traffic. In some contexts, it indicates, interconnection is treated as distinct from commercial arrangements – such as settlement, peering, and reciprocal compensation arrangements – that involve charges for use of a network for transport and termination of traffic that originates on another network. Mexico contends that, for example, United States law makes a clear distinction between interconnection and transport and termination services: interconnection is the physical linking of two networks, while transport and termination is when one carrier routes traffic over the network of another carrier. According to Mexico, the regulation of interconnection rates is a significant issue in domestic markets for telephone service where carriers need access to other carriers' networks to provide service in competition with each other. As a result, countries seeking to encourage domestic competition must have strict requirements for incumbent providers with market power. Mexico claims that these rules generally require incumbent carriers to provide all of their competitors interconnection with rates, terms and conditions that are reasonable and non-discriminatory. Mexico argues that interconnection must be permitted at any technically feasible point within the carrier's network and at least equal in quality to that provided by the incumbent provider to itself or to its subsidiaries, affiliates, or any other competitor. Mexico adds that competitors must also have a process to resolve disputes with incumbent carriers that arise during and after the negotiation process.74

4.15 The United States considers that Mexico's argument that United States law makes a "clear distinction" between interconnection and call termination is irrelevant. It submits that in the United States, as in the European Communities, a key purpose of the regulation of interconnection is to ensure that carriers may terminate calls on other carriers' networks at cost-oriented rates. The United States submits that the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has made clear that "[t]he interconnection obligation of Section 251(c)(2) ... allows competing carriers to choose the most efficient points at which to exchange traffic with incumbent LECs, thereby lowering the competing carriers costs of, among other things, transport and termination of traffic.75 The United States explains that United States law defines "transport and termination" separately from interconnection because United States local exchange carriers have additional obligations with respect to the transport and termination of calls, including the requirement to establish "reciprocal compensation arrangements" for the termination of calls originated on other local networks.76 77

(b) The meaning of interconnection within the Reference Paper

4.16 According to Mexico, the term "interconnection" in Section 2 of the Reference Paper is capable of many meanings including: domestic local interconnection, domestic long-distance interconnection and international interconnection.78 However, Mexico contends, when properly interpreted, "interconnection" in Section 2 of the Reference Paper does not include arrangements under the accounting rate regime.79 In Mexico's view, the term "interconnection" does not encompass the accounting rate regime.80 Mexico understands that, in the context of the Reference Paper, "interconnection" must be interpreted to refer to interconnection within a WTO Member's borders, for example, interconnection to a local exchange carrier by a domestic long-distance carrier, or by a competitive local carrier and the incumbent local carrier.81 Mexico thus submits that the United States incorrectly defines the rates for the transportation and termination of international calls as "interconnection rates".82

4.17 Mexico further contends that this interpretation does not render the Reference Paper meaningless in the context of international trade in services as implied by the EC in its third party submission. Mexico explains that, for example, where permitted under a WTO Member's Schedule, if a foreign company establishes a commercial presence in that Member's territory, it would have to interconnect with other carriers within the domestic network. Mexico submits that this interconnection would be governed by the provisions of the Reference Paper. Mexico further submits that its ILD Rules fully implement those provisions of the Reference Paper vis-à-vis foreign carriers with a commercial presence in Mexico, among others, AT&T, WorldCom and Verizon.83

4.18 The United States contends that the plain language of the Reference Paper simply does not support Mexico's argument. According to the United States, the definition of "interconnection" in Section 2.1 is not limited to domestic interconnection, or in other words, interconnection provided to commercially present suppliers. Rather, it argues, it is written broadly to include all means of "linking" for the purpose of enabling users to communicate – whether domestic (mode 3) or international (mode 1).84 Citing to provisions of Mexico's ILD Rules and Federal Telecommunications Law, the United States also argues that even Mexico, in almost all references in its internal laws and regulations, refers to the linking of foreign service suppliers to its international port operators as "interconnection".85

4.19 Mexico submits that the United States ignores ILD Rules 2, 10, 13, 16 and 19 which define "settlement rate" and explicitly distinguish between "settlement rates", which are applicable to international traffic, and "interconnection rates, which are paid to the local operator that terminates the call.86

4.20 The United States submits that the distinction Mexico draws between "interconnection rates" and "charges for use of a network for transport and termination of traffic that originates on another network" is irrelevant.87 In its view, even though interconnection arrangements cover a wide variety of different commercial, contractual and technical situations, all of these arrangements are "interconnection" under Section 2.1 of the Reference Paper.88 According to the United States, the requirements of Mexico's Reference Paper apply to all interconnection services, particularly call termination. The United States explains that, because call termination means allowing calls originated on the network of one supplier to be terminated on the network of another supplier, it falls squarely within Mexico's definition of "interconnection" in Section 2.1, which is "linking with suppliers providing public telecommunications transport networks or services in order to allow the users of one supplier to communicate with users of another supplier and to access services provided by another supplier."89

(i) Interpretation of the term "interconnection" in its context

4.21 Mexico argues that the United States' interpretation arises from an improper application of the general rule of interpretation in Article 31 of the Vienna Convention90 since, in its view, the United States simply presents the "ordinary meaning" of the term "interconnection".91 Mexico submits that, under Article 31 of the Vienna Convention it is insufficient to rely solely on the ordinary meaning of a term and that the United States has therefore failed to take into account the context of the term and object and purpose of Mexico's Reference Paper.92

4.22 As regards the context, Mexico submits that, the history of the negotiations on basic telecommunications confirms that "interconnection", "accounting rates" and "termination services" were discussed but that agreement was reached only on interconnection. Accordingly, Mexico contends, accounting rates were clearly outside the scope of what was agreed. Mexico contends that a specific draft text on accounting rates was removed from the negotiating drafts for the Model Reference Paper.93 For example, Mexico states that the following bracketed text was included in a 6 March 1996 provisional negotiating text:

"[Accounting rate is the rate per traffic unit agreed upon between administrations for a given relation, which is used for the establishment of international accounts, as per International Telecommunication Union Recommendation D. 150 New System for Accounting in International Telephony.]…

[7. Public availability of accounting rates

International accounting rates maintained by any supplier of public telecommunications transport services with foreign correspondents will be open to public review. Upon request of another Member, and [sic] essential facilities supplier will be required to justify why an international accounting rate differs significantly from domestic interconnection rates.]"

But the final version of the Reference Paper did not include any of this text. Furthermore, Mexico submits that accounting rates were consciously excluded from this text is confirmed by the fact that they are "on the table" in the Doha Round of negotiations.94

4.23 The United States responds that Mexico's citation of an earlier draft of the Reference Paper does not support its argument that accounting rates (or international interconnection rates) were intended to be excluded from the definition of "interconnection." According to the United States, Mexico's argument ignores the rules of treaty interpretation included in the Vienna Convention. The United States submits that whatever provisions were considered during the drafting process, the Panel is charged with interpreting the final version of the Reference Paper. Mexico's final version includes, in Section 2.1, a definition of "interconnection" that broadly covers "linking ... to allow the users of one supplier to communicate with users of another supplier and to access services provided by another supplier."95

4.24 The United States also argues that the requirement in that earlier draft of the Reference Paper that "a dominant supplier explain the reasons why an international accounting rate differs significantly from domestic interconnection rates" at the request of a Member indicates that the negotiators considered accounting rates and domestic interconnection rates to be charges for two types of interconnection. According to the United States, the former is a charge for international interconnection and the latter is a charge for domestic interconnection and that the deletion of this provision merely demonstrates that Members did not undertake those specific obligations. The United States further argues that it does not affect the remaining Reference Paper obligations, including the obligation of Mexico to ensure that its major supplier Telmex charges interconnection rates, including rates for international interconnection, that are basadas en costos.96

4.25 Mexico submits that the following factors contradict the position of the United States. First, the fact that the negotiating drafts explicitly distinguished between "accounting rates" and "interconnection/interconnection rates" confirms that the negotiators treated the accounting rate regime separately from interconnection. Second, the fact that there were transparency requirements in draft Sections 2.2(b) and 2.3 negated the need for a transparency requirement in square-bracketed Section 7 if, as the United States' argues, "interconnection" subsumed the accounting rate regime. [This fact, t]hat an explicit transparency requirement was included in Section 7 confirms that the negotiators treated the accounting rate regime separately and distinctly from "interconnection". Third, the United States is one of the few WTO Members that make their accounting rates transparent. If the interconnection transparency provisions in the Reference Papers of WTO Members applied to accounting rates, all WTO Members with such commitments would make their rates transparent. Fourth, the fact that no other provisions in the negotiating drafts, the Model Reference Paper and Mexico's Reference Paper could be interpreted to include an obligation analogous to that contained in draft Section 7, so it could not have been removed from the final version of the Reference Paper because its substance was subsumed by other Sections of it. Rather, its subject matter and substance was unique and the negotiators were unable to agree upon its inclusion.97

4.26 Mexico further argues that the Understanding on Accounting Rates ("the Understanding"), which was outlined in the February 15, 1997 Report of the Chairman of the Group on Basic Telecommunications98, confirms that WTO Members did not intend that accounting rates would be subject to the obligations of the GATS, including the Reference Paper.99 According to Mexico, the Understanding resulted from a discussion of whether Members should take Article II of the GATS (most-favoured nation) exemptions in respect of the application of differential accounting rates, after several countries did take such exemptions. Article II of the GATS, Mexico explains, applies to "any measure covered by [the GATS]". The main debate was whether accounting rates negotiated between private entities should be considered "measures" within the meaning of Article XXVII of the GATS.100 Mexico argues that, given this uncertainty, as well as the fact that the accounting rate regime was the subject of ongoing and active study in the ITU, the Members agreed that accounting rates would be treated as a subject for further negotiation, as part of the "built-in" negotiations under the GATS. In the meantime, it explains, the Understanding imposes a moratorium on dispute settlement action relating to accounting rates in the WTO.101 In addition, Mexico argues, although the Understanding originally arose in the context of Article II exemptions, WTO Members did not contemplate that any other obligation of the Reference Paper or of the Annex on Telecommunications would apply to accounting rates. According to Mexico, it only agreed to inscribe the Reference Paper as an additional commitment in its Schedule because of the Understanding that accounting rates were not covered by it.102

4.27 As regards the Understanding, the United States submits that it is concerned with Article II of the GATS, concerning most-favoured-nation treatment, rather than the Reference Paper. The United States points out that it did not address the issue of cost-orientation or reasonable terms.103 The United States further argues that Mexico's claim based on the Chairman's Note (the Understanding)104 is unsound for at least two reasons.105 First, the Chairman's Note is at best a non-binding statement that did not find its way into the GATS, the Reference Paper or Mexico's Schedule itself.106 In support of this, the United States cites to a report by the Group on Basic Telecommunications107, which states that "[t]he Chairman stressed that this was merely an understanding, which could not and was not intended to have binding legal force. It therefore did not take away from Members the rights they have under the Dispute Settlement Understanding . . ."108 Second, the United States argues that the report itself made clear that the Chairman's Note "was merely intended to give members who had not taken MFN exemptions on accounting rates some degree of reassurance." Even in that limited context, the Note has no application outside of GATS Article II - the MFN article.109 The United States argues that this is clear from the Note's text: the reference in the Chairman's Note to "such" accounting rates is a reference back to the introductory paragraph of the Note, which speaks to "differential" accounting rates and the MFN exemptions actually taken by the five countries mentioned in the Note. However, it argues, because the United States has not brought a claim under Article II of the GATS, the Note is irrelevant to this dispute.110 The United States further indicates that the fact that accounting rates are subject to discussions in the ITU has no relevance to whether they are covered by Mexico's WTO commitments; nor is it relevant that WTO Members are considering further commitments on accounting rates in the current services negotiations.111

(ii) Subsequent practice

4.28 Mexico submits that the rule of interpretation in paragraph 3(b) of Article 31 of the Vienna Convention, which provides that "[t]here should be taken into account together with the context… any subsequent practice in the application of the treaty which establishes the agreement of the parties regarding its interpretation", is also relevant to this dispute. According to Mexico, all fifty-five of the WTO Members (including the United States) that inscribed the interconnection commitments in Section 2.2(b) of the Model Reference Paper maintain the traditional joint service accounting rate regime. Thus, Mexico argues, WTO Members, including the United States, did not intend Section 2 of their Reference Papers to apply to international interconnection under the traditional accounting rate regime.112

4.29 Mexico further submits that, its interpretation is supported by the practice of the United States and other WTO members. According to Mexico, fifty-five WTO Members included the interconnection commitments of Section 2.2(b) of the Model Reference Paper in their individually inscribed Reference Papers and all of them, including the United States, maintain the traditional joint service accounting rate regime.113

4.30 Mexico submits that the Benchmarks Order is relevant to this dispute in several respects. United States law, including the Benchmarks Order, is consistent with Mexico's position that WTO Members did not believe that the Fourth Protocol or the Annex on Telecommunications applied to accounting rate arrangements. In this regard, the FCC established and applied the benchmarks for the countries that inscribed the Reference Paper as well as those that did not, and did not purport to set benchmarks for the former at the same level as the domestic interconnection rates in those countries. Also, although there are United States carriers that qualify as "major suppliers" under the definition advocated by the United States, the Benchmarks Order does not require any United States carriers to base settlement rates on their own costs – to the contrary, the United States Benchmarks Order and International Settlements Policy effectively prohibit United States carriers from adopting settlement rates based on their own costs. In the event that the Panel were to conclude that the Section 2.2 of the Reference Paper applies to accounting rate arrangements and that Telmex is a major supplier within the meaning of the Reference Paper in the context of the negotiation of rates for bilateral United States-Mexican traffic exchanges, it would need to establish a methodology to determine whether the rates were "cost-based, reasonable and economically feasible." Initially, the United States seemed to suggest that the requirement for "cost-based" rates required an evaluation of the specific costs of Telmex. However, Mexico introduced evidence that it is accepted practice – both in the international and domestic contexts – to use "benchmarks" to determine whether rates are acceptable. The United States had also now agreed with Mexico that Members "can reasonably rely on competitive market dynamics to yield cost-based settlement rates." This meant that Mexico was not obliged by the Reference Paper to make calculations of the specific costs of Mexican carriers in providing transport and transmission services for incoming international calls. It also meant that the Panel reasonably could refer to the available benchmarks for accounting rates – those of the ITU Working Group 3 and the FCC – to determine whether the rates are "cost-based" and "reasonable." Mexico submits that, under the standards of both the ITU and the FCC, Mexico's settlement rates clearly are cost-based and reasonable.114

4.31 The United States argues that Mexico errs in suggesting that the FCC's "Benchmarks Order", which requires United States carriers to negotiate lower accounting rates, is inconsistent with the United States claim in this proceeding that Mexico's WTO Reference Paper obligations apply to settlement rates. The United States submits that the FCC recognized in the Benchmarks Order that "[t]he WTO Basic Telecom Agreement reached on 15 February 1997 will have profound effects on the accounting rate system," since 69 countries had agreed to open their markets, and 59 countries had agreed to implement the Reference Paper. The United States points out that the FCC went on to state that "the WTO Basic Telecom Agreement will fundamentally change the nature of relations between international telecommunications carriers," and expected that its benchmarks would be "moot for competitive countries and carriers." However, the FCC emphasized that "[n]onetheles, the benchmarks are necessary because many countries still will not be open to competition." Thus, according to the United States, the FCC was particularly concerned by the failure to achieve meaningful accounting rate reform through the ITU, the 189-country membership of which includes the large majority of countries for which benchmark rates were established by the Benchmarks Order. The countries opening their markets and accepting the Reference Paper comprised less than 25 per cent of the nearly 250 routes for which the FCC established benchmark accounting rates. According to the United States, the Benchmarks Order was necessary to fill this gap.115

4.32 The United States also argues that Mexico is incorrect in its argument that its accounting rates are consistent with ITU recommendations on benchmark rates. The United States submits that neither ITU recommendations nor ITU benchmarks are relevant to Mexico's WTO obligations. In addition, according to the United States Recommendation ITU D.140, included by Mexico as Exhibit MEX-11, expressly states, at paragraph E.3.2, that the benchmark levels discussed therein should not be "taken as cost-orientated levels."116

4.33 Finally, according to Mexico, the United States has argued that its own ILD rules are consistent with Section 1 of the Reference Paper because it only applies the rules to foreign carriers that have market power. As shown above, however, the FCC continues to apply the rules to Mexico notwithstanding that, according to the FCC's own standards, there is "meaningful economic competition" within Mexico. Mexico has also submitted documents from the FCC establishing that it has waived its International Settlements Policy only for 15 countries, and that it deems virtually every major foreign carrier to have market power. According to Mexico, the conduct of the United States in maintaining uniform settlement rate, symmetrical rate and proportionate return requirements is evidence that the United States either does not believe that the Reference Paper applies to accounting rate arrangements or that such market control practices are consistent with Section 1.117

(iii) Supplementary means of interpretation

4.34 According to Mexico, even if the United States' interpretation could be considered a proper application of Article 31 of the Vienna Convention, it "leads to a result which is manifestly absurd [and] unreasonable", thus requiring recourse to the negotiating history and to the circumstances surrounding the conclusion of the treaty.118 Mexico explains that, under Article 32 of the Vienna Convention, recourse may be had to supplementary means of interpretation, including the preparatory work of the treaty and the circumstances of its conclusion, in order to confirm the meaning resulting from the application of Article 31 or to determine the meaning when the interpretation according to Article 31 leaves the meaning ambiguous.119

aa) Negotiating history

4.35 According to Mexico, a review of the negotiating history of the Reference Paper upon which Mexico's version is based confirms that the term "interconnection" in the Reference Paper was not intended by the WTO Members to encompass the accounting rate regime.120 See the parties arguments on this matter in Section IV.A.2(b)(i) above.

bb) The international scope and bilateral nature of the accounting rate regime

4.36 Mexico further argues that the United States' expansive interpretation of Section 2 of Mexico's Reference Paper fails to take into account the international scope and bilateral nature of the accounting rate regime. In terms of the international scope, it argues, only fifty-five of the one hundred and forty-four WTO Members inscribed a version of the Reference Paper in their schedules that included the "cost-oriented" requirement in paragraph 2.2(b) of the Model Reference Paper while the remaining eighty-nine WTO Members are under no such obligation. Mexico contends that, under the United States' interpretation of Section 2.2 of Mexico's Reference Paper, those fifty-five WTO Members would be required to implement termination rates on their own national carriers using the strict "cost-oriented" standard posed by the United States, while nothing would oblige carriers from the remaining eighty-nine WTO Members and from non-Members to do the same. In its view, the result would be that the net outflows of payments from countries subject to Section 2.2(b) disciplines to countries not subject to Section 2.2(b) disciplines would rise astronomically, forcing carriers of the former countries to choose between bankruptcy and refusing to pay. It further indicates that the accounting rate regime would collapse completely without a viable replacement, possibly even leading to interruptions in international traffic.121

4.37 Also, Mexico claims, the bilateral nature of accounting rate regimes could lead to a further absurdity. Mexico explains that the financial pressures caused by one of the parties in a bilateral accounting rate arrangement dropping its settlement rate to a very low level could pressure the other party to reduce its rates in order to sustain the economic viability of the arrangement. In such a situation, the other party would effectively be compelled to bring itself closer into compliance with a WTO standard or requirement that it did not inscribe in its Schedule. Thus, it argues, even if that WTO Member had been careful in its Schedule to ensure that its accounting rate regime was not disciplined, it would be indirectly subject to disciplines inscribed in the schedules of other WTO Members with whom it had accounting rate arrangements in place. In Mexico's view, this circumstance would undermine the overall balance of concessions that formed the basis for the agreement.122

4.38 The United States submits that neither Mexico nor any other Member violates the Reference Paper by continuing to use "accounting rates", or violates the ITU's International Telecommunications Regulation by subjecting "accounting rates" to the obligations in the Reference Paper. According to the United States, Members that have scheduled the Reference Paper may continue to allow their carriers to charge "accounting rates" to terminate traffic. Those Members must simply ensure that those "accounting rates", when used by major suppliers, are consistent with the requirements of Section 2.2(b).123

4.39 The United States further submits that Mexico need not worry that Telmex will be faced with "net outflows of payments." In fact, it argues, ISR or other types of interconnection arrangements have, in large part, already superseded the accounting rage regime among most of the 55 countries Mexico lists.124 Also, the United States argues that price reductions made by private parties in response to competitive pressure are not "compelled".125 In the view of the United States, Mexico's "doomsday" scenario is an invention. The United States contends that Mexico's assertion that Telmex would be forced into bankruptcy if it is forced to observe the "strict 'cost-oriented' standard posed by the United States" is not accurate. Rather, the United States submits that Telmex's current rates substantially exceed the prices charged for the very same elements of interconnection furnished domestically. Thus, it argues, cutting Telmex's rates for the interconnection of international traffic to the level of prices charged for interconnection furnished domestically would not lead to the "doomsday" scenario posed in Mexico's submissions, since under Mexican law these rates already cover costs, including a reasonable rate of return.126 Moreover, the United States notes, approximately 80 per cent of Mexico's international traffic is exchanged with the United States. Thus, it submits, if Telmex were to charge cost-based interconnection rates to terminate this traffic, given the large imbalance in traffic flows between the United States and Mexico, the result will not even approach a situation in which Telmex makes "net outflows of payments".127

cc) Circumstances of the conclusion of the treaty: Mexican legislation at the time of negotiations

4.40 As to the circumstances of the conclusion of the treaty, Mexico turns to Mexican legislation and regulation in effect at the time of the basic telecommunications negotiations. This includes the ILD Rules. Those rules recognize that the term "interconnection" can be used to describe the technical aspects of interconnection in all contexts. However, they also explicitly distinguish between "settlement rates" for international incoming calls and "interconnection charges" for interconnection within Mexico's borders. Accordingly, Mexico submits that, under these laws, at the time of the conclusion of the negotiations, interconnection disciplines such as those in Section 2.2 of Mexico's Reference Paper applied only to domestic interconnection and points out that this is still the case today.128 As support, Mexico cites to the Appellate Body Report in EC – Computer Equipment129, where the Appellate Body found that, inter alia, a Member's legislation on customs classification at the time of conclusion of the negotiations was part of the circumstances of the conclusion of the treaty.130

4.41 The United States argues that, while it is true that in EC – Computer Equipment, the Appellate Body found that a Member's legislation at the time of negotiations can be used as a supplementary means of interpretation, Mexico considers that its ILD rules should override the definition of "interconnection" used in Section 2.1.131 The United States submits that Mexico ignores the Appellate Body's cautionary note that "[t]he purpose of treaty interpretation is to establish the common intention of the parties to the treaty. To establish this intention, the prior practice of only one of the parties may be relevant, but it is clearly of more limited value than the practice of all parties." The Unites States submits that, according to the Appellate Body, if the prior practice of a party is not consistent, it is not relevant at all as a supplementary means of interpretation. The Unites States further submits that, while Mexico focuses on one particular provision of Mexican law which it contends distinguishes between "interconnection" and "settlement rates", it has demonstrated that elsewhere in Mexican law, the linking of foreign service suppliers to Mexican international port operators is referred to as "interconnection", and that throughout its laws and regulations, Mexico uses the term "interconnection agreement" to describe agreements with foreign operators.132

(c) Whether the Reference Paper obligations extend to accounting rate regimes

4.42 The United States claims that the interconnection obligations in Section 2 of the Reference Paper apply to the interconnection between United States service suppliers and Telmex for the purpose of delivering their basic telecom services from the United States into Mexico.133 Because accounting rates are interconnection rates between carriers located in two different countries, the Reference Paper obligations apply to accounting rate regimes as well.134

4.43 Mexico, on the contrary, argues that the substantive provisions in Section 2.2 of Mexico's Reference Paper can be given full meaning only in the domestic context and therefore cannot be given full meaning in the context of arrangements under the accounting rate regime.135

(i) Concept of "accounting rate"

4.44 Mexico argues that the "accounting rate regime" refers to bilateral relationships between carriers in two countries whereby they agree to compensate one another for transporting and terminating traffic that originates in the other country.136 Based on the definition by the ITU, Mexico submits that the "accounting rate" is the price two carriers of different countries negotiate for carrying one minute of international telephone service between their countries. Mexico explains that each carrier's portion of the accounting rate is called the "settlement rate." Settlement payments between carriers result when traffic flowing in one direction exceeds traffic flowing in the opposite direction. To calculate its settlement payment, a carrier multiplies the number of minutes its outbound traffic to a particular foreign carrier exceeds its inbound traffic from that foreign carrier and then multiplies this amount by the settlement rate charged by the other carrier (also known as the "accounting rate division share"). Thus, it concludes, a carrier that originates more traffic than it terminates will make periodic settlement payments to its foreign correspondent carrier.137

4.45 The United States notes that Mexico provides no citation for the definition of accounting rate regime, and no definition – nor any reference to accounting rates – is included in Mexico's Schedule Thus, the United States submits, Mexico's definition confirms that accounting rates are interconnection rates between carriers located in two different countries, and fails to show that these terms are mutually exclusive. The United States also points out that Mexico's ILD rules make no reference to accounting rates, and refer throughout to "interconnection" and "international interconnection" agreements.138

4.46 The United States submits that Mexico's Schedule – including its Reference Paper commitments – must be interpreted on its own terms, according to the rules of interpretation included in the Vienna Convention. According to the United States, ITU instruments, developed for a different organization, of different members, for different purposes, are not relevant for the interpretation of the requirements of Section 2 of the Reference Paper. The United States notes that Mexico cites no binding ITU resolutions that would be violated by Mexico's compliance with its WTO obligations as claimed by the United States and indeed there are none. According to the United States, Mexico principally uses ITU documents to support its argument that the accounting rate regime is not included within the scope of the Reference Paper. The United States claims that Mexico neglects to discuss the definition of "interconnection" included in Section 2.1 of its Reference Paper, or to present any justification for its view that the arrangements in question do not meet that unambiguous definition.139 Furthermore, the United States argues that the definition of "accounting rates" maintained by the ITU is in fact consistent with the definition of interconnection included in Section 2.1 of the Reference Paper. According to the United States, the ITU has recognized that competition has changed the ways that international carriers compensate one another for interconnection, and that accounting rates are one, and only one, of the alternative charging mechanisms that are available for use between carriers in different countries to interconnect their networks.140

4.47 Mexico acknowledges that the ITU instruments do not assist in the determination of when "tarifas basadas en costos" or "cost oriented rates" are reasonable and economically feasible within the meaning of Section 2.2(b) of Mexico's Reference Paper. However, Mexico argues, they could have some relevance in the interpretation of Section 2.2(b) of Mexico's Reference Paper in the context of interconnection rates within Mexico's borders. In addition, Mexico notes, International Telecommunications Regulation ("ITR") 6.2.1, which requires that accounting rates be established by mutual agreement among administrations or recognized private operating agencies is an important element of the context in which the negotiations on basic telecommunications took place. Mexico submits that ITR 6.2.1 requires that accounting rates be determined in negotiations between carriers. As a result, accounting rates that a carrier negotiates for carrying traffic to different countries typically vary widely. Mexico further submits that other recommendations of ITU working committees, such as E.110, also help to illustrate the context in which certain terms are used within the telecommunications sector, which in turn may assist the Panel in determining the "ordinary meaning" of terms in the Reference Paper.141

4.48 Mexico also notes that the ITRs are supplemented by a series of D-series Recommendations produced by ITU-T Study Group 3. Recommendation D.140 states that "accounting rates for international telephone services should be cost-orientated and should take into account relevant cost trends." At the same time, this same Recommendation recognizes that that "the costs incurred in providing telecommunication services, although based on the same components, may have a different impact depending on the country's development status."142 Thus, Mexico contends, as a whole, the Recommendation encouraged a transition to lower accounting rates, but did not mandate a particular methodology for calculating costs nor contemplate that countries would be able to immediately establish cost-oriented rates.143

(ii) Domestic interconnection v. accounting rates

4.49 Comparing the two, Mexico argues that domestic interconnection is more complicated than accounting rate regimes.144 Mexico explains that, for example: international interconnection cannot occur at "any technically feasible point"; by their nature accounting rates are per se discriminatory and cannot comply with the non-discrimination requirement; and domestic regulatory bodies do not have legal authority to resolve disputes and impose solutions over carriers that are outside of their territorial jurisdiction. Mexico also points to a Note by the Secretariat on Additional Commitments under Article XVIII of the GATS, which states that the primary purpose of the interconnection provisions of the Model Reference Paper (Section 2) is to safeguard competitive situations where a dominant supplier can exert control over its competitors. Thus, Mexico argues, even assuming arguendo that Telmex is a dominant supplier, it does not "exert control over its competitors" with respect to the supply of a service from the territory of one Member (i.e., the United States) into the territory of any other Member (i.e., Mexico) because Telmex simply does not compete with United States suppliers for the supply of such services.145

4.50 The United States argues that, under the definition included in Section 2.1 of Mexico's Reference Paper, the "linking" accomplished via the accounting rate regime is just one form of "interconnection." As a result, there is no element of an "accounting rate regime" that cannot also be an element of an "interconnection regime." Any commercial, contractual, technical or regulatory differences between various types of interconnection arrangements, including accounting rate arrangements, fall under the broad definition included in Section 2.1.146

4.51 In response to a question by the Panel, the parties commented on the possible differences between domestic interconnection and accounting rate regimes from a commercial, contractual, technical and regulatory point of view.147

aa) Differences from a commercial point of view

4.52 Mexico argues that domestic interconnection and accounting rate regimes are different from a commercial viewpoint. According to Mexico, a national carrier entering into an accounting rate arrangement with a national carrier of another nation is not in competition with that carrier, because the two carriers cannot compete for each other's customers. Moreover, it argues, under the accounting rate regime, carriers from different countries must come to a mutual agreement on their relationship; there is no supra-national authority that can dictate terms or rates to both parties simultaneously. On the other hand, Mexico indicates, the commercial context of domestic interconnection regimes is quite different. In the sphere of domestic interconnection, the main focus is on how new entrant ("competitive") carriers gain access to the established networks of incumbent carriers, so as to compete with the incumbents for their customers. Mexico explains that, for example, a new entrant providing a local telephone service generally will not start out with a network that reaches all of the potential customers in the region; it therefore must interconnect with the incumbent carrier to ensure its customers can be connected with all of the incumbent's customers. There is little economic incentive for the incumbent carrier to allow its competitors to interconnect, since the competitor will be trying to sell the same services to those customers as the incumbent. But if the new entrant cannot interconnect, Mexico submits, it will be unable to provide a fully competitive service.148

4.53 Mexico submits that domestic interconnection arrangements vary depending upon the location as well as type of interconnection, and also involve technical and operational issues.149 In addition, unlike with the accounting regime whereby a relationship with only one carrier in the destination country enables termination throughout that country, domestic interconnection requires relationships with potentially numerous different carriers.150 Mexico explains that this is because to ensure a local carrier's customers can reach all customers in the market, a carrier must interconnect with all other local carriers in the market. Similarly, it argues, a domestic long-distance carrier (or inter-city or interexchange carrier) must interconnect with local carriers throughout a country in order to be able to reach all end-user customers. Because a long-distance carrier depends exclusively upon local carriers for access to customers, whereas the local carrier has no similar need for access to the long-distance carrier, the local carrier has the incentive and ability to set interconnection rates as high as possible.151 Thus, Mexico concludes, regulators again play an important role in setting the terms, conditions, and rates for interconnection between domestic long-distance and local carriers.152 In conclusion, Mexico submits, the accounting rate regime by its nature must be cooperative, whereas domestic interconnection involves fierce competition that must be regulated.153

4.54 The United States considers that, from a commercial viewpoint, interconnection is a key wholesale input in supplying a basic telecommunications service because it allows suppliers to complete phone calls where the person placing the call uses a different network from the person receiving the call. Because no telecommunications supplier has a worldwide, ubiquitous network, all telecommunications suppliers must interconnect with other telecommunications suppliers to complete phone calls to receiving parties that use different networks. Similarly, it argues, telecommunications suppliers without their own local networks also must interconnect with other telecommunications suppliers to originate calls. The United States submits that all interconnection, including accounting rate arrangements between carriers in different countries, performs this key commercial function of allowing the completion of calls between the networks of different suppliers. The definition of interconnection set forth in Section 2.1 of the Reference Paper includes all such "linking" between the networks of different suppliers.154

4.55 The United States further submits that Mexico wrongly seeks to imply that the regulation of interconnection rates is necessary only where interconnecting suppliers compete with each other. Mexico goes on to acknowledge that interconnection is also an important concern in domestic markets where the interconnecting carriers do not compete with each other, such as where "a domestic long-distance carrier (or inter-city or interexchange carrier) must interconnect with local carriers throughout a country in order to be able to reach all end-user customers. " In these circumstances, it argues, the domestic long-distance carrier must interconnect with local carriers for both call termination and call origination. The United States submits that Mexico further acknowledges that the regulation of interconnection rates is necessary in such circumstances, not because the interconnecting carriers are targeting the same customers, but because "the local carrier has the incentive and ability to set interconnection rates as high as possible." For the same reasons, it submits, the regulation of interconnection rates is necessary for the cross-border supply of international basic telecommunications services, which are also dependent on interconnection arrangements for call termination with suppliers that have "the incentive and ability to set interconnection rates as high as possible."155

bb) Differences from a contractual point of view

4.56 In response to a question by the Panel, Mexico lists the major provisions of the standard domestic interconnection agreement in comparison with accounting rate agreements. According to Mexico, most of the provisions of one agreement are either not applicable or can never be a provision in the other agreement.156 For example, Mexico pointed to an accounting rate agreement that provided for dispute settlement through international commercial arbitration, while a US domestic interconnection agreement provided for dispute settlement in the courts, before a state public utility commission, or before the Federal Communications Commission. Mexico also highlighted that the domestic interconnection agreement contained many provisions not included in accounting rate agreements, such as with respect to audits, indemnification, insurance, discontinuation of service, intellectual property, directory and operator assistance, access to unbundled network elements, access to poles, ducts, conduits, and rights-of-way, access to databases needed to provide 911 emergency call service, and a provision that each party reserves the right to institute an appropriate proceeding with the appropriate federal or state governmental body of appropriate jurisdiction regarding the prices charges for services by the incumbent carrier.157

4.57 The United States points out that, from a contractual viewpoint, interconnection arrangements between suppliers in the same or different countries, including accounting rate arrangements between suppliers in different countries, may include a wide variety of rates, terms and conditions concerning such matters as specific services covered by the agreement, the rates applicable to specific services, payment schedules, procedures for dispute resolution, time duration of the agreement, restrictions on assignments of rights, and various network technical considerations. The United States explains that interconnection arrangements may provide for one-way or two-way traffic flows, with the same or different rates applying in each direction, and two-way traffic flow. Interconnection arrangements may also provide for "net" payment arrangements under which the two carriers set off their interconnect payments with one carrier remitting the balance to the other carrier.

4.58 The United States indicates that, under a traditional accounting rate regime, an agreed accounting rate is divided in half and applied to traffic flows in both directions. However, it argues, Mexico's ILD rules governing "interconnection agreements with foreign operators" (Rule 23) do not restrict the compensation methods that may be negotiated by the "concession holder who holds the largest outgoing long-distance market share" (Rule 13). Notably, the rates that Telmex currently charges United States suppliers differ significantly from the "accounting rate revenue division procedure" described by the informal note submitted by the ITU to the Council on Trade in Services ("a net settlement payment is made on the basis of excess traffic minutes, multiplied by half the accounting rate"). The United States explains that United States suppliers are currently charged different rates for each of three rate zones in Mexico. Additionally, under that arrangement, another rate applies to Mexico-United States traffic. Furthermore, the United States submits, negotiated interconnection rates, including accounting rates between suppliers in different countries, are normally established by the interconnecting suppliers. Mexico's ILD Rule 13 requirement that only the concession holder with the largest market share may negotiate with foreign operators rates that are then binding on its competitors does not reflect any traditional accounting rate regime and, to the knowledge of the United States, is not required by any Member other than Mexico.158

cc) Differences from a technical point of view

4.59 Mexico argues that domestic interconnection and accounting rate regimes are different from a technical viewpoint. Mexico submits that Section 2.2 of the Reference Paper requires that interconnection be ensured at "any technically feasible point" in the major supplier's network. In contrast, under the accounting rate regime international carriers connect at a border or some international mid-way point that is decided privately between the carriers, who have a mutual interest in cooperating with each other to complete international calls. In Mexico's opinion, unless a country permits foreign carriers to establish their own facilities within its territory – which Mexico has not, and for which it has a limitation in its Schedule – foreign carriers must always connect at the border, not at any technically feasible point.159

4.60 According to Mexico, each specific international relationship has its individual technical complexities. Nations that use ANSI standards and interconnect with those that use CEPT standards must carry out conversions of speeds and protocols for coding of voice channels or of signalling of channels, among other things. These conversions require an agreement between the parties on the installation of standard translator equipment, which can be in the country of origin, the country of destination, or even in an intermediate country. No authority regulates the required translations, and neither company has any obligation to comply with the other's requirements in any manner. Furthermore, conditions can vary from interconnection to interconnection. National interconnection arrangements, in contrast, are generally homogeneous, and the technical aspects of all agreements entered into with one local company are virtually identical. Mexico also notes that domestic interconnections are carried out between two carriers, and if they in a particular case require a third party for interconnection, in general terms it is transparent; the company that interconnects is always responsible for the whole network, whether it is owned or leased, up to the point of interconnection with the local operator. In contrast, in international relationships, the infrastructure is shared up to an intermediate point, and the concept known as HMIU, or "half-miu," applies, a term not commonly used in the domestic interconnection lexicon. In the case of border interconnections, the HMIU is limited to a virtual point or to a very short fiber optic segment; nevertheless, a point of mutual responsibility between the parties continues to exist. Mexico further submits that the special complexities of international interconnection are reflected in ITU-T Recommendation E.110, and the recommendation to concentrate international traffic in "a few international exchanges" highlights that the concept of interconnection "at any technically feasible point" is not applicable to international interconnection.160

4.61 The United States considers that, from a technical viewpoint, interconnection, by definition, involves the "linking" of networks of different suppliers, and the technical characteristics of the networks of different suppliers vary. Consequently, it argues, there may be technical differences between interconnection arrangements depending on the technologies used by the interconnecting supplier networks, or on whether the interconnection arrangement is between two fixed line carriers; between a fixed line and a wireless carrier; between local and long-distance carriers; or between two local carriers. The United States submits that, for all interconnection arrangements, including interconnection arrangements involving cross-border suppliers, technical issues are generally resolved through the use of protocols and standards and through joint coordination and planning. Also, to the extent that interconnection at a particular point in the network of the major supplier is not "technically feasible", Section 2.2 of the Reference Paper does not apply.161

4.62 The United States considers that since United States carriers interconnect their networks with the network of Telmex at the border, the border is clearly a "technically feasible point" of interconnection under Section 2.2. In its view, that Mexico prohibits interconnection at other technically feasible points does not change the nature of the activity encompassed by interconnection.162 The United States also observes that the international interconnection arrangements are plainly interconnection under Section 2.1 of the Reference Paper, and also are similar to the "meet-point interconnection arrangements" that incumbent local exchange carriers in the United States are required to provide to new entrants. Thus, Mexico can not exclude the accounting rate regime from interconnection on this ground.163

4.63 The United States contends that Mexico's attempt to exclude the accounting rate regime from interconnection on the grounds that "international carriers connect at a border or some international mid-way point" is unfounded. In its view, such "linking" of networks is plainly interconnection under Section 2.1 of the Reference Paper, and also is similar to the "meet-point interconnection arrangements" that incumbent local exchange carriers in the United States are required to provide to new entrants. The United States considers that meet-point arrangements are arrangements by which each telecommunications carrier builds and maintains its network to a meet point. The FCC found in 1996 that meet-point arrangements for interconnection between carrier facilities, also known as "mid-span meets", were commonly used between neighbouring LECs (local exchange carriers) for the mutual exchange of traffic.164

dd) Differences from a regulatory point of view

4.64 Mexico argues that domestic interconnection and accounting rate regimes are different from a regulatory viewpoint. According to Mexico, in the domestic interconnection context, countries seeking to encourage domestic competition must have strict requirements for incumbent providers with market power. These rules generally require incumbent carriers to provide all of their competitors interconnection with rates, terms and conditions that are reasonable and non-discriminatory.165 In this regard, Section 2.2(a) provides that interconnection must be provided under "non-discriminatory terms, conditions, and rates." In contrast, there is no expectation that a carrier offer the same accounting rate agreement to foreign carriers from different countries; indeed, there was specifically no agreement in the GATS negotiations to require that accounting rates be non-discriminatory.166 Interconnection must be permitted at any technically feasible point within the carrier's network and at least equal in quality to that provided by the incumbent provider to itself or to its subsidiaries, affiliates, or any other competitor.167 Mexico notes that Section 2.2(a) also provides that a major supplier must provide interconnection "of a quality no less favourable than that provided for its own like services or for like services of non-affiliated service suppliers or for its subsidiaries or other affiliates." In its view, issues of comparable quality arise only when there is concern that an incumbent carrier could provide inferior quality facilities to carriers competing with it. This issue does not arise in the context of the accounting rate regime, where the traffic is handed off at the border to a national long-distance carrier that has no interest in impeding calls or providing low quality service, but rather is responsible for all of the facilities within its country used to complete the call.168

4.65 Mexico submits that Section 2.2(b) of the Reference Paper provides that interconnection must be provided in a "timely fashion". In its view, this issue does not arise in the context of the accounting rate regime, where national carriers have no incentive to block access; to the contrary, international calls can be completed only if the carriers from the two countries act in cooperation, and the carriers are compensated for completing the call.169 Mexico further submits that Section 2.2(b) also provides that interconnection tariffs must be "sufficiently unbundled so that the supplier need not pay for network components or facilities that it does not require for the service to be provided." In contrast, it argues, unbundling does not arise in the context of the accounting rate regime because once a carrier hands traffic off at a border, the terminating carrier is completely responsible for ensuring that the call reaches its final destination.170

4.66 Mexico notes that Section 2.2(c) of the Reference Paper provides that a major supplier shall provide interconnection upon request "at points in addition to the network termination points offered to the majority of users, subject to charges that reflect the cost of construction of necessary additional facilities."171 Mexico points out that, under the accounting rate regime in effect between Mexico and the United States, however, the decision of whether to construct new gateways for connecting with international carriers is left solely to the discretion of the carriers, and each carrier bears it own costs because neither has facilities within the other country.172 Mexico argues that Section 2.3 provides that procedures applicable for interconnection negotiations must be made publicly available. Because negotiation of accounting rate agreements is done privately, this requirement has no application to the accounting rate regime.173 Mexico also contends that Section 2.4 provides that a major supplier must make publicly available its interconnection agreements or a reference interconnection offer. There is, however, no expectation that accounting rates be made public.174

4.67 Mexico recalls that Section 2.5 requires that countries have an independent domestic regulatory body to resolve disputes regarding appropriate terms, conditions and rates for interconnection.175 Mexico points out that competitors must have a process to resolve disputes with incumbent carriers that arise during and after the negotiation process. Because both parties to the interconnection agreement are established under the laws of one country, dispute settlement mechanisms can be established giving a governmental regulator the authority to impose terms, conditions and rates on both parties. In the context of accounting rate agreements, in contrast, governments have different regulatory goals and more limited power.176 For example, a domestic regulatory body can have the authority to resolve disputes and impose solutions only over two carriers that are within its rate-setting jurisdiction. Mexico submits that a domestic regulatory agency cannot require a foreign carrier to accept its determination of an appropriate accounting rate; and, in any case, the foreign carrier would always be free to ignore the determination.177 As reflected in requirements such as those for uniform settlement rates (adopted by both the United States and Mexico), proportionate return (adopted by both the United States and Mexico), and symmetrical rates (adopted by the United States but not Mexico), governments generally seek to: (i) avoid allowing accounting rate arrangements to undermine domestic competition; and (ii) bolster the negotiating position of their national carriers vis-à-vis foreign carriers. At the same time, Mexico argues, because a government of one country lacks jurisdiction over foreign carriers, neither rates nor other terms and conditions can be enforced by that government. A government can require that its national carriers seek approval of accounting rate arrangements and in that manner try to impose various conditions, but its authority is circumscribed.178

4.68 The United States submits that, from a regulatory viewpoint, interconnection arrangements, including accounting rate arrangements, may be subject to different regulatory requirements to address different commercial, contractual and technical situations. The United States submits that any such regulatory differences, however, do not alter the status of all of these arrangements as "interconnection" under Section 2.1 of the Reference Paper.179 The fact that some of the requirements of Section 2 may not apply to interconnection provided to cross-border suppliers does not mean that other requirements of Section 2 are equally inapplicable.180 As stated by the European Communities, "from a regulatory point of view, accounting rates are just one form of interconnection."181 The United States further submits that Mexico is wrong in implying that the regulation of interconnection rates is necessary only where interconnecting suppliers compete with each other. The United States points out that Mexico also acknowledges that interconnection is an important concern in domestic markets where the interconnecting carriers do not compete with each other, such as where "a domestic long-distance carrier (or inter-city or interexchange carrier) must interconnect with local carriers throughout a country in order to be able to reach all end-user customers". The United States further notes that Mexico also acknowledges that the regulation of interconnection rates is necessary in such circumstances, not because the interconnecting carriers are targeting the same customers, but because "the local carrier has the incentive and ability to set interconnection rates as high as possible." The United States argues that, for the same reasons, the regulation of interconnection rates is necessary for the cross-border supply of international basic telecommunications services, which are also dependent on interconnection arrangements for call termination with suppliers that have "the incentive and ability to set interconnection rates as high as possible."182

4.69 The United States further submits that Mexico is also wrong to contend that a major supplier "has no interest in impeding calls or providing inferior quality service" to cross-border suppliers because these suppliers are not competitors. In fact, major suppliers are direct competitors with cross-border suppliers that originate services in-country through home-country direct and similar call reversal services. Moreover, a major supplier has an incentive to impose a competitive disadvantage on a foreign cross-border supplier if an affiliate of the major supplier competes with the cross-border supplier – as many such affiliates were expected to do following a successful outcome of the basic telecommunications negotiations.183 The United States also notes that the requirements of non-discrimination and unbundling are equally relevant to the interconnection of international traffic as they are to the interconnection of domestic traffic.184


To continue with: 3. Specific Commitments of Mexico  

1 See WT/DS204/1.

2 See WT/DS204/2.

3 See WT/DS204/1/Add.1.

4 See WT/DS204/3.

5  See WT/DSB/M/123.

6 See WT/DS204/4.

7 See WT/DS204/4.

8 See ILD Rules 2 and 13.

9 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 87. See also Mexico's first oral statement, paragraph 11.

10 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 88.

11 See Federal Telecommunications Law (FTL), ("Ley Federal de Telecomunicaciones"), published in the Federal Gazette ("Diario oficial de la Federación") on 7 June 1995, entered into force on 8 June 1995.

12 See FTL, Article 1.

13 See FTL, Article 7.

14 See FTL, Article 11.

15 See FTL, Article 12. Foreign investment in cellular telephone services may however be greater than 49 per cent, with the permission of the Commission on Foreign Investment.

16 See FTL, Article 12.

17 Also referred to in English language translations of the FTL as "telecommunications service marketing companies".

18 See FTL, Article 52.

19 See FTL, Article 53.

20 See FTL, Article 54.

21 See Mexico's answer to question No. 6(d) of the Panel of 19 December 2002 ("Mexico has inscribed in its schedule that it 'will not issue permits for the establishment of a commercial agency until the corresponding regulations are issued'. Why has Mexico not issued the regulations on the establishment and operation of commercial agencies?"). See also the Public Telephony Regulations, published in the Federal Gazette on 16 December 1996 (Exhibit MEX-29).

22 See FTL, Article 47, paragraph 2.

23 See FTL, Article 47, paragraph 4.

24 See FTL, Article 3.

25 See Rules for the Provision of International Long-Distance Service To Be Applied by the Licensees of Public Telecommunications Networks Authorized to Provide this Service (ILD Rules) (Reglas para Prestar el Servicio de Larga Distancia Internacional que deberán aplicar los Concesionarios de Redes Públicas de Telecomunicaciones Autorizados para Prestar este Servicio). Issued by the Commission; published in the Federal Gazette on 11 December 1996; entered into force on 12 December 1996.

26 See ILD Rule 1.

27 See ILD Rule 2:XI.

28 See ILD Rules 3 and 6.

29 See ILD Rule 2:VII.

30 See ILD Rule 2:VIII.

31 See ILD Rule 2:XV

32 See ILD Rules 2:XII(a) and (b); and 10.

33 See ILD Rule 13.

34 See ILD Rules 2:XII, 10, 13, 16, 17 and 19.

35 See ILD Rule 4.

36 See ILD Rule 4.

37 See FLEC. Approved by the Congress on 18 December 1992, promulgated by the President on 22 December 1992, published on 24 December 1992, entered into force 180 days after publication.

38 See FLEC, Article 2.

39 See FLEC, Article 12.

40 See FLEC, Article 13.

41 See Code of Regulations to the Federal Law on Economic Competition ("Reglamento de la Ley Federal de Competencia Económica"), published in the Official Gazette on 4 March 1998, entered into force on 5 March 1998 (with the exception of Article 6 which entered into force 6 months from 5 March 1998).

42 See Code of Regulations to the Federal Law on Economic Competition, Article 9.

43 See Code of Regulations to the Federal Law on Economic Competition, Article 12.

44 See the United States' first written submission, paragraph 297, and the United States' second written submission, paragraph 129. See also the United States' second oral statement, paragraph 88.

45 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 267. See also Mexico's first oral statement, paragraph 58, Mexico's second written submission, paragraph 107 and Mexico's second oral statement, paragraph 124.

46 See the United States' first written submission, paragraph 297, and the United States' second written submission, paragraph 129. See also the United States' second oral statement, paragraph 88.

47 See the United States' first written submission, paragraph 44.

48 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 112.

49 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 117.

50 Ibid.

51 See the United States' first written submission, paragraph 45.

52 See the United States' first written submission, paragraph 47.

53 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 112.

54 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 152. See also Mexico's first oral statement, paragraph 25.

55 See Mexico's first oral statement, paragraph 48.

56 See Mexico's first oral statement, paragraph 49.

57 Ibid.

58 See Mexico's first oral statement, paragraph 50.

59 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 154.

60 See the United States' first oral statement, paragraph 22. See also the United States' answer to question No. 7 of the Panel of 19 December 2002 ("Article I of the GATS states that the agreement covers all measures affecting trade in services, including the cross border supply of services. Mexico claims that the Reference Paper applies only to matters relating to domestic regulation within the borders of each WTO Member. Please explain.").

61 See Mexico's answer to question No. 7 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 7, see footnote 60 of this Report.

62 See Mexico's second written submission, paragraph 25. See also Mexico's answer to question No. 7 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 7, see footnote 60 of this Report.

63 See the United States' first written submission, paragraphs 60-64.

64 See the United States' first written submission, paragraph 65.

65 See the United States' first written submission, paragraph 67.

66 As regards the definition of the term "interconnection", see Section IV.A.2(a) of this Report.

67 See Mexico's second written submission, paragraphs 27-28. See also Mexico's answer to question No. 7 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 7, see footnote 60 of this Report.

68 See the United States' second oral statement, paragraphs 27-28.

69 See the United States' first written submission, paragraph 39.

70 See the United States' first written submission, paragraph 40.

71 See the United States' first written submission, paragraph 41.

72 The United States refers to Directive 97/33/EC, Interconnection in Telecommunications, Art. 2(1)(a), available at http://europa.eu.int/ispo/infosoc/telecompolicy/en/dir97‑33en.htm.

73 The United States refers to Commission Recommendation on Interconnection in a Liberalised Market, Part 1 – Interconnection Pricing, Explanatory Memorandum (January 8, 1998), Sect. 3.1 (emphasis in original), available at http://www.europa.eu.int/ISPO/infosoc/telecompolicy/en/r3148‑en.htm.

74 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraphs 36-38.

75 The United States refers to the Implementation of the Local Competition Provisions in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, 11 FCC Rcd. 15499, paragraph 172 (1996) (emphasis added) (Exhibit US-55)

76 The United States refers to the 47 USC. § 251(b)(5) (Exhibit US-56). Traffic terminated under reciprocal compensation arrangements is subject to the same "forward‑looking economic cost-based pricing standard" that governs other interconnection services provided by incumbent local carriers. Implementation of the Local Competition Provisions in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, 11 FCC Rcd. 15499, paragraph 1054 (1996) (Exhibit US-55).

77 See the United States' answer to question No. 8 of the Panel of 19 December 2002 ("What are the main differences and similarities between an accounting rate regime and an interconnection regime from commercial, contractual, technical, and regulatory viewpoints?").

78 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 150.

79 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 151. See also Mexico's first oral statement, paragraph 26.

80 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 164. See also Mexico's first oral statement, paragraph 25.

81 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 152.

82 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 21.

83 See Mexico's first oral statement, paragraph 29.

84 See the United States' first oral statement, paragraph 20. See also the United States' second written submission, paragraph 41.

85 See the United States' first oral statement, paragraph 20. See also the United States' second written submission, paragraphs 41-42.

86 See Mexico's second oral statement paragraph 11.

87 The United States refers to Mexico's distinction in paragraph 36 of its first written submission (see paragraph 4.14 of this Report). See the United States' second written submission, paragraph 54.

88 See the United States' answer to question No. 8 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 8, see footnote 77 of this Report.

89 See the United States' second written submission, paragraph 54.

90 See Mexico's second written submission, paragraph 33. See also Mexico's answer to question No. 7 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 7, see footnote 60 of this Report.

91 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 150. See also Mexico's first oral statement, paragraph 27.

92 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 151. See also Mexico's first oral statement, paragraph 27

93 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraphs 167-169. See also Mexico's first oral statement, paragraphs 21-22, Mexico's second written submission, paragraph 37 and Mexico's answer to question No. 7 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 7, see footnote 60 of this Report.

94 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraphs 167-170.

95 See the United States' second written submission, paragraph 47.

96 See the United States' second written submission, paragraph 48.

97 See Mexico's comments on the United States' answer to question No. 18 of the Panel of 14 March 2003, paragraphs 29-33.

98 The Panel understands that the document referred to by Mexico is the Report of the Group on Basic Telecommunications (S/GBT/4, February 15, 1997).

99 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 171.

100 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 172.

101 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 173.

102 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 176.

103 See the United States' answer to question No. 16(a) of the Panel of 19 December 2002 ("At the close of the negotiations on basic telecommunications, an understanding on accounting rates was reached (S/GBT/4, paragraph 7). If Section 2 of the Reference Paper requiring 'cost-oriented' rates and 'reasonable' terms applies to accounting rates, why would there have been a need for the Group on Basic Telecommunications to arrive at a separate understanding on accounting rates?").

104 The Panel takes note here that, from the context of the United States' submission, the document referred to by the United States should be the Report of the Group on Basic Telecommunications (S/GBT/4, 15 February 1997).

105 See the United States' first oral statement, paragraph 25. See also the United States' second written submission, paragraph 49.

106 See the United States' first oral statement, paragraph 26. See also the United States' second written submission, paragraph 50.

107 The Panel takes note here that, from the context of the United States' submission, the document referred to by the United States should be the Report of Meeting of 15 February 1997 (S/GBT/M/9, 10 March 1997).

108 See the United States' first oral statement, paragraph 26. See also the United States' second written submission, paragraph 50.

109 See the United States' first oral statement, paragraph 27. See also the United States' second written submission, paragraph 51.

110 See the United States' first oral statement, paragraph 27. See also the United States' second written submission, paragraph 51. See also the United States' answer to question No. 16(b) of the Panel of 19 December 2002 ("What is the significance of the statement in the understanding that 'the accounting rate system ... by its nature involves differential rates'?").

111 See the United States' first oral statement, paragraph 24. See also the United States' answer to question No. 12 of the Panel of 19 December 2002 ("Which ITU instruments, if any, are relevant for the interpretation of Section 2 of the Reference Paper? Why?").

112 See Mexico's second written submission, paragraph 32. See also Mexico's answer to question No. 7 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 7, see footnote 60 of this Report.

113 See Mexico's second written submission, paragraphs 14 and 32.

114 See Mexico's comments on the United States' answer to question No. 19(b) of the Panel of 14 March 2003, paragraph 41.

115 See The United States' second written submission, footnote 42 to paragraph 59.

116 See the United States' second written submission, paragraph 66.

117 See Mexico's comments on the United States' answer to question No. 19(b) of the Panel of 14 March 2003, paragraph 41.

118 See Mexico's second written submission, paragraph 33. See also Mexico's answer to question No. 7 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 7, see footnote 60 of this Report.

119 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 165.

120 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 166.

121 See Mexico's second written submission, paragraph 34. See also Mexico's answer to question No. 7 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 7, see footnote 60 of this Report.

122 See Mexico's second written submission, paragraph 35. See also Mexico's answer to question No. 7 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 7, see footnote 60 of this Report.

123 See the United States' second oral statement, paragraph 33.

124 See the United States' second oral statement, paragraph 37.

125 See the United States' second oral statement, paragraph 38.

126 See the United States' second oral statement, paragraph 35.

127 See the United States' second oral statement, paragraph 36.

128 See Mexico's second written submission, paragraph 38. See also Mexico's answer to question No. 7 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 7, see footnote 60 of this Report.

129 Mexico refers to paragraphs 92-94 of the Appellate Body Report, EC – Computer Equipment.

130 See Mexico's second written submission, paragraph 38. See also Mexico's answer to question No. 7 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 7, see footnote 60 of this Report.

131 See the United States' second oral statement, paragraph 44.

132 See the United States' second oral statement, paragraph 45.

133 See the United States' first written submission, paragraph 44.

134 See the United States' second written submission, paragraph 45.

135 See Mexico's second written submission, paragraphs 29-30. See also Mexico's answer to question No. 7 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 7, see footnote 60 of this Report.

136 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 24.

137 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraphs 28-29.

138 See the United States' second written submission, paragraph 45. See also the United States answer to question No. 8 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 8, see footnote 77 of this Report.

139 See the United States' answer to question No. 12 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 12, see footnote 111 of this Report.

140 See the United States' second written submission, paragraph 58.

141 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraphs 30-31. See also Mexico's answer to question No. 12 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 12, see footnote 111 of this Report.

142 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 32.

143 Ibid.

144 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 39.

145 See Mexico's second written submission, paragraphs 29-30. See also Mexico's answer to question No. 7 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 7, see footnote 60 of this Report.

146 See the United States' answer to question No. 17 of the Panel of 14 March 2003 ("In considering the commercial, contractual, technical, and regulatory differences between an accounting rate regime and an interconnection regime, which you described in your responses to our questions following the First Panel Meeting, could you please identify those elements in each regime that can never be elements of the other regime?").

147 See Mexico's answer to question No. 8 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 8, see footnote 77 of this Report.

148 Ibid.

149 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 39.

150 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 40. See also Mexico's answer to question No. 8 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 8, see footnote 77 of this Report.

151 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 41. See also Mexico's answer to question No. 8 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 8, see footnote 77 of this Report.

152 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 41.

153 See Mexico's answer to question No. 8 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 8, see footnote 77 of this Report.

154 See the United States' answer to question No. 8 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 8, see footnote 77 of this Report.

155 Ibid.

156 See Mexico's answer to question No. 8 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 8, see footnote 77 of this Report; see also Mexico's answer to question No. 17 of the Panel of 14 March 2003. For question No. 17, see footnote 146 of this Report.

157 See Mexico's answer to question No. 8 of the Panel of 19 December 2202. For question No. 8 see footnote 77; see also Mexico's answer to question No. 17 of the Panel of 14 March 2003. For question No. 17 see footnote 146 of this Report.

158 See the United States' answer to question No. 8 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 8, see footnote 77 of this Report.

159 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 155.

160 See Mexico's answer to question No. 8 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 8, see footnote 77 of this Report.

161 See the United States' answer to question No. 8 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 8, see footnote 77 of this Report.

162 See the United States' first oral statement, paragraph 29.

163 See the United States' second written submission, paragraph 44.

164 See the United States' answer to question No. 8 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 8, see footnote 77 of this Report.

165 See Mexico's answer to question No. 8 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 8, see footnote 77 of this Report.

166 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 156.

167 See Mexico's answer to question No. 8 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 8, see footnote 77 of this Report.

168 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 157.

169 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 158.

170 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 159.

171 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 160.

172 Ibid.

173 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 161.

174 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 162.

175 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 163.

176 See Mexico's answer to question No. 8 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 8, see footnote 77 of this Report.

177 See Mexico's first written submission, paragraph 163.

178 See Mexico's answer to question No. 8 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 8, see footnote 77 of this Report.

179 See the United States' answer to question No. 8 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 8, see footnote 77 of this Report.

180 See the United States' first oral statement, paragraph 29. See also the United States' second written submission, paragraph 57. See also the United States' answer to question No. 7 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 7, see footnote 60 of this Report.

181 See the United States' answer to question No. 8 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 8, see footnote 77 of this Report.

182 See the United States' second written submission, paragraph 52.

183 See the United States' answer to question No. 8 of the Panel of 19 December 2002. For question No. 8, see footnote 77 of this Report. See also the United States' first oral statement, paragraph 30. See also the United States' second written submission, paragraph 53.

184 See the United States' first oral statement, paragraph 29. See also the United States' second written submission, paragraph 57.