ITU vs WTO — reaction

In this reaction, I will deal with defining the two multilateral institutions and their proposed policies to serve one’s ideology. The policies proposed by both multilateral institutions are evolving around economical context such as liberalization, deregulation and privatization. In 1986, GATT defined the telecommunication services as a form of trade. This definition was essential to build up the policies that evolve around the privatization of telecommunication sectors in developing countries. This privatization would be endorsed further by the policy confirmed by GATS to provide international corporation the same right of access to the domestic telecommunication make as the local telecommunication companies. WTO encourages liberalization and privatization, and ITU focus on having the public interests not compromised. The World trade Organisation (WTO) argued that the world would benefit from an economical growth through adapting the free flow of information. Also, WTO encourages private corporations to invest in telecommunication industries in developing countries, which they believe, would increase their economical growth. However, ITU opposes to WTO and works in the service of the public interest and privileging public utility over competition. It bases its argument that the telecommunication services are public utility. For example, the radio uses air to transmit radio frequency; Hence, it should serve the public best interests. Also, only 180 GSO satellites could be deployed because there is only 180 available orbital slots. ITU fought to uphold “equitable access to the GSO” for all countries. However, it could not succeed in its mission. The orbital slots ended up being used by a few nations. The failure of ITU was due to the massive investments provided to opposing entity, WTO, which pressured ITU by the fourth protocol to step down on its policy and endorsed the US position by defining that ‘the distinction between “domestic” and “international” satellite systems is no longer valid in a digitally connected world and that satellite transmissions could cross national borders’. Hence, the history played in favor of WTO which led it to win the policy war against ITU. The WTO wining is thanks to the money provided by the western countries. Also, there is no more ideological opposition, the capitalism ideology was the dominant one. Also, the advances of technology pressured ITU to step down on some of its policies.

In my opinion, it is unfortunate to have the developing countries play along game which rule are set by the western countries. Even though if development and technological improvement is promised by the western countries for the developing countries. It seems it is a lost game and there is no escape to it. It is like living in a box and there is no other box to escape to. During the time of existence of two ideologies, developing countries had the chance to switch the game rules that is good to their benefits. Which created the competition between the two ideologies and they would provide better services for the non-aligned countries.

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