• Kyodo

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The United States will actively monitor purchases of U.S. telecom equipment by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. following the July 1 expiration of a 20-year-old bilateral agreement on NTT procurement, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick said Thursday.

The U.S. will not renew the accord due to increased purchases of U.S. products by NTT, but steps are still needed to make NTT fully open, Zoellick said.

“We believe the best way to pursue this goal is to continue to closely monitor NTT purchases and purchasing practices in coordination with U.S. industry,” he said in a statement.

The U.S. is expected to seek more purchases of U.S. telecom equipment by NTT under the new framework for bilateral economic talks to be launched by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and President George W. Bush on June 30.

The USTR said purchases of foreign products by NTT have increased as a result of measures taken under the pact, including fair competitive bidding.

But the foreign share of the NTT equipment market lags behind foreign penetration in other key telecom markets, including the U.S. and Germany, it said.

The first NTT accord was concluded in 1980 after U.S. companies accused NTT’s state-run predecessor of relying too heavily on Japanese suppliers. The agreement took effect in January 1981 and has been renewed several times.

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