|Sen. Baucus Comments on
Trade, WTO Round, and TPA
|1/9. Sen. Max Baucus
(D-MT) wrote a commentary
titled "Doha and Beyond: The Role of Congress in a New
Trade Round" for the January issue of the State Department publication
titled "Economic Perspectives". Sen. Baucus is
Chairman of the Senate
Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over many trade
Representatives of more than 140 countries met in Doha, Qatar,
late last year and agreed to launch a new round of World Trade Organization (WTO)
talks. Sen. Baucus listed several issues involved in the next
round of WTO talks that are of concern to the Congress,
including antidumping and countervailing duty laws,
environmental protection, antitrust, and protection of
"The consensus that was struck at Doha," said Baucus,
"is a significant blueprint for expanding trade and
creating an integrated global economy. The substance of this
blueprint, however, points to the continuing need for the
United States Congress to play an active and forward looking
role in developing U.S. trade policy."
He stated that "the U.S. Constitution grants Congress,
not the president or the administrative branch, the power to
regulate trade. The administration may do the actual
negotiating, but responsibility for making sure that trade
agreements reflect the broad needs of the American people lies
ultimately in the hands of the Congress. If negotiations are
to move forward, Congress needs to be assured that its
concerns are reflected in the U.S. agenda, particularly when
contentious issues arise."
Antidumping. Sen. Baucus stated that many members of
Congress support antidumping and countervailing duty laws. He
elaborated that "Industries ranging from steel to
semiconductors to a variety of agricultural sectors have been
victimized by dumped and subsidized exports from a number of
Environment. He also said that trade agreements must
address the environment. He added that "any trade
agreement that does not explicitly acknowledge this important
connection will most likely face an extremely difficult time
being ratified by the Congress."
Antitrust and IPR. Sen. Baucus also said that the next
WTO round would affect both U.S. antitrust and IPR laws. He
stated that "Work on competition policy holds the
potential for reshaping the antitrust system that has evolved
over more than a hundred years. Negotiations on intellectual
property could undermine protections that the United States
has sought to make an integral part of the world trading
Trade Promotion Authority. He concluded that "If
the president is to be granted TPA in the new year, Congress
and the administration need to work together to make sure that
the negotiations reflect the concerns expressed by a vast
majority of Americans by making sure that trade is both free
See also, commentary
by James Zumwalt titled "How WTO Membership Affects
China", in the same State Department publication. Zumwalt,
who is Economic Minister Counselor, at the U.S. Embassy in
Beijing, wrote that "China will take on the obligations
of numerous existing WTO agreements covering all aspects of
trade, such as agriculture, import licensing, trade related
aspects of intellectual property rights, technical barriers to
trade, and trade related investment measures." He also
wrote that "WTO membership will make China even more
attractive to foreign investors. And more money invested in
China means more high paying jobs, more government tax
receipts, and more technology transfers. China's WTO
commitments will facilitate increased competition in every
sector of the economy. Chinese consumers will be the direct
beneficiaries as competition encourages a larger range of
choices, lower prices, and higher quality, not to mention a
greater awareness of and appreciation for intellectual
property rights and consumer rights."
See also, commentary
by Grant Aldonas, Under Secretary of Commerce for
International Trade, titled "Open Trade: Greater
Opportunities for All Countries".
|People and Appointments
|1/9. President Bush announced his intent to nominate Walter
Lukken to be a Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading
Commission (CFTC) for a five year term expiring April 13,
2005. He has been a member of the staff of the Senate Agriculture
Committee since 1997. Before that, he was a Legislative
Assistant to Sen. Richard
Lugar (R-IN). See, White
1/9. Intel announced the
appointment of 16 vice presidents, including two assistant
general counsel. Bruce
Sewell is vice president, Legal, and assistant general
counsel. He manages the team that provides legal advisory
services to the Intel Architecture Group. David
Shannon, is vice president, Legal, and assistant
general counsel. He is responsible for the legal advisory
services for the Intel Communications Group and the Wireless
Communications and Computing Group. See, Intel
1/9. California Governor Gray Davis appointed three people to
the Technology, Trade and Commerce Agency. He named Nelson
Chan to be Deputy Secretary of the International Trade and
Investment Division, Keith Bovetti to be Assistant
Secretary of the International Trade and Investment Division,
and Gregory Davis to be Regional Office Director of the
Office of Export Development.
|Rep. Dingell Asks FCC to
Investigate AT&T USF Billing
|1/7. Rep. John
Dingell (D-MI) wrote a letter
to Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) Chairman Michael Powell
and the other Commissioners regarding "AT&T's recent
announcement that it increased its universal service line-item
fee to 11.5% of the monthly bill for residential
customers". Universal service requirements, which are
codified at 47 U.S.C.
§ 254, provide for subsidies for telecommunications
services in rural and high cost areas. Universal service is
also the basis of the FCC's e-rate program for schools and
Dingell wrote that AT&T asserts that this change is made
necessary by the FCC's Universal Service Fund (USF) formula.
However, noting that "current USF
factor is only 6.9% of revenues", Dingell added that
AT&T's claim is "puzzling at best".
Dingell continued that "no carrier should be permitted by
law to collect from its customers for the universal service
line-item fee more than it actually contributes to the
fund. It appears that AT&T may be padding its pockets by
doing just this. Such behavior would seriously jeopardize the
E-rate program for public schools and libraries, as well as
the affordability of basic telephone services for rural and
Dingell concluded by asking the FCC to "perform an
investigation of the books and records of AT&T to
determine whether the company in fact has collected more from
its customers for this line-item fee than it has actually paid
to the Government." See also, Dingell
Steve Davis, Qwest SVP for
policy & law, stated in a release
that "AT&T's agenda is clear -- spend millions of
dollars to keep Qwest out of the long distance business while
skimming billions of dollars from unsuspecting customers
through price hikes ... AT&T will continue to increase
long distance prices until they have to compete with Qwest."
|Federal Circuit Rules in
|1/8. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Rheox
v. Entact, a patent infringement case. Rheox is
the assignee of U.S.
Patent No. 5,162,600, titled "Method of Treating Lead
Contaminated Soil". It filed a complaint in U.S.
District Court (DNJ) against Entact alleging patent
infringement. The District Court granted summary judgment to
Entact. The Appeals Court affirmed.
1/8. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Talbert
Fuel Systems Patents v. Unocal, a patent
infringement case. Talbert Fuel Systems Patents is the owner
Patent No. 5,015,356 titled "Hydrocarbon Fuel
Systems". Unocal is
the owner of U.S.
Patent No. 5,288,393 titled "Gasoline Fuel".
Talbert filed a complaint in U.S.
District Court (CDCal) against Unocal alleging patent
infringement. The District Court granted summary judgment of
noninfringement, and declined to declare an interference under
U.S.C. § 291. The Court of Appeals affirmed.
|San Jose Company Sentenced
for Wire Fraud
|1/8. Advanced Computer Link, Inc., was sentenced in U.S.
District Court (NDCal) for one count of wire fraud in
violation of 18
U.S.C. § 1343. ACL, a San Jose based exporter of computer
components, engaged in a double invoicing scheme to defraud
the British and Irish governments of value added taxes. Judge
Ronald Whyte imposed a sentence requiring ACL to pay a fine of
The U.S. Attorneys Office stated in a release
that "it would prepare invoices for computer equipment
exported to companies in the United Kingdom and Ireland
listing a fraudulently low price. This invoice was presented
by British and Irish purchasing companies to Customs officials
in those countries to be used to compute Value Added Tax
("VAT") owed on the importation of those products,
thereby allowing the purchasing companies to defraud the
British and Irish governments of tax due and owing on
merchandise imported from ACL. Once VAT had been assessed, ACL
would send a second invoice to the purchasing British and
Irish companies reflecting the true value of the goods, and
thereby receive payment for the full market price of the
|1/9. The California
Court of Appeal (2/1) issued its opinion
[PDF] in Kirkland
v. Superior Court, holding that
"transcripts of testimony given before the SEC in the
course of an investigation are discoverable in civil
litigation where, as here, the party from whom discovery is
sought has possession of or ready access to the documents and
1/9. The U.S. Court of
Appeals (FedCir) heard oral argument in Fantasy Sports
v. Sportsline.com, No. 01-1217, an appeal from the U.S.
District Court (EDVa). This is a patent infringement case
Patent 4,918,603, titled "Computerized Statistical
Football Game". (D.C. No. 99 CV-2131103; opinion at F.
Supp. 2d 886.)
1/9. The U.S. Court of
Appeals (FedCir) heard oral argument in ManTech
Telecommunications v. US, No. 01-5090.
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|Asst. Commerce Sec. Mehlman
Addresses Broadband Issues
|1/9. Bruce Mehlman, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for
Technology Policy, gave a speech at a Federal Communications Bar
Association (FCBA) lunch titled "Broadband, When? A
View from the Administration." The Bush administration,
said Mehlman, believes that broadband technologies will
provide many benefits, and it wants to facilitate its
deployment and adoption; however, the administration is not
yet ready to announce a broadband policy.
Mehlman did not take a position on many current broadband
related debates, such as HR 1542,
the Tauzin Dingell bill. However, he offered his review of
what the major federal and local issues are. He listed the key
federal issues as unbundled network element (UNE) regulations,
forced access to broadband platforms, cable and spectrum
ownership caps, building access, spectrum allocation, prices
for access to federal rights of way, and enforcement
penalties. He listed the key state and local issues as prices
for access to rights of way, tower siting regulations,
building codes, zoning regulations, historic preservation
rules, and taxation of broadband deployment.
Mehlman reviewed the division of responsibilities between the
various components of the Department
of Commerce. He said that the National Telecommunications
and Information Administration (NTIA), which is headed by
Nancy Victory, has spectrum management responsibilities. In
the area of broadband policy, the NTIA is taking the lead on
supply side issues. The Office of
Technology Policy, which Mehlman heads, is taking the lead
on demand side issues.
Scott Harris, Co-chair of the FCBA's Online Communications
Committee, and organizer of the luncheon, asked Mehlman about
what the Department of Commerce is doing about state and local
roadblocks to broadband deployment. Harris commended the FCC,
but added that when "you get to the states, it's like
dealing with French bureaucrats." Mehlman said that the
NTIA is leading on this topic; it is developing a set of
"best practices" that "will enable broadband
deployment within a state." Mehlman also said that some
states are "prioritizing bandwidth", while some
"other states haven't gotten it yet." He did not
name any states.
Mehlman listed several reasons why the administration supports
broadband deployment. These include promoting economic growth
through costs savings and increased productivity, improving
health care through such things as 24-7 patient monitoring and
expert consultations for remote areas, improving education
through distance learning, increasing access to information
about government, and providing more online government
He also said that deployment and use of broadband services has
taken on added importance since the events of September 11. He
stated that broadband technologies could improve homeland
defense through "cockpit monitoring" and
"biometric security". He elaborated that you
"need a high speed data network to bounce it off the
Mehlman also said that broadband would facilitate
"emergency information distribution", such as
getting video to FEMA officials before they have people on
site at disaster locations. He also said that broadband is
important for "off site data backup", so that if
buildings are destroyed, data is not lost. Finally, he said
that "video conferencing will allow continued economic
output with reduced travel".
Mehlman concluded by stating that "technology development
is the key" to broadband deployment and adoption. He
listed several examples. Consumer technology has to become
more "plug and play". Applications must be developed
to drive consumer demand. Wireless broadband technologies must
be developed. And, digital rights management (DRM) challenges
must be addressed.
|Monday, Jan 14
|9:30 AM. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (DCCir) will hear oral argument in Sinclair
Broadcast Group v. FCC, No. 01-1079. Judges Sentelle,
Rogers and Williams will preside.
9:30 AM. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (DCCir) will hear oral argument in COMSAT
Corp v. FCC, No. 00-1458. Judges Sentelle, Rogers and
Williams will preside.
|Tuesday, Jan 15
|8:30 AM - 5:00 PM. The North American Numbering Council
(NANC) will meet. Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, Room
TW-C305 (Commission Meeting Room).
1:30 PM. The U.S. International Telecommunication Advisory
Committee (ITAC) will hold a meeting. See, notice
in Federal Register, October 17, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 201, Page
52825. Location: State Department.
|Wednesday, Jan 16
|8:30 AM - 5:00 PM. The North American Numbering Council
(NANC) may continue its meeting of January 15, if necessary.
Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, Room TW-C305 (Commission
11:00 AM. The Cato Institute
will host a panel discussion titled "Closing 'Windows' on
Antitrust or Opening a New Era of Intervention? Competition
Policy after the Microsoft Settlement". The participants
will be Jeffrey Eisenach (Progress and Freedom Foundation),
Robert Levy (Cato), Kenneth Starr (Kirkland & Ellis),
Jonathan Zuck (Association for Competitive Technology), and
James Miller (Citizens for a Sound Economy). A luncheon will
follow. See, online
registration page. Location: Cato Institute, 1000
Massachusetts Avenue, NW.