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June 20, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:39pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Having been forced to open its telecoms market by the European Commission, Deutsche Telekom is trying to pressure the US to open its market much further than agreed at the WTO talks earlier this year. Deutsche Telekom AG chairman and chief executive, Dr. Ron Sommer, has attacked US telecommunications legislation that protects US-based carriers from international competition at a time when telecommunications markets across the world will be opening up to allow US carriers to compete with the existing national telcos. In the United States there still will be restrictions on access to the market for foreign companies, even after implementation of the WTO agreement effective at the beginning of 1998, he said. This situation is not satisfactory to a global player such as Deutsche Telekom, which has numerous strategic objectives to consider in the international market, as well as its soon-to-be-completely-open home market. Sommer maintained that, in contrast to the US, after January 1, 1998, Germany will have one of the most liberalized, and thus, certainly one of the most intensely competitive telecommunications markets in the world. Sommer added. I therefore see it as a further challenge facing the international telecommunications industry — besides the growth in customer requirements and the tremendous pace of technological development — to push ahead with the further liberalization of the market and to remove the restrictions which still exist in various national markets. The state of liberalization achieved with the WTO agreement must not be allowed to become the final stopping point, Sommer said. Sommer made his remarks at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies/Center for Strategic and International Studies, prior to planned meetings with key US Congressional, Administration and regulatory implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement and electronic commerce.

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