By Richard Brown
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has cancelled its four-yearly Telecom Americas conference to be held in Argentina next year due to "unforseen circumstances," according to a statement by the telephone standards governing body.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has cancelled its four-yearly Telecom Americas conference to be held in Argentina next year due to "unforseen circumstances," according to a statement by the telephone standards governing body.The ITU is a specialized agency of the United Nations for international telephone standards and technology development. The agency issued a call for bids to member states in the Americas region to host Telecom Americas in 2004 or 2005. Previous events were held in Rio de Janeiro and Acapulco, Mexico.Though the ITU made no explicit reference to the paralyzing monetary crisis and political upheaval that have convulsed Argentina in recent months, business confidence in the country has plummeted. In September 2001, Yoshio Utsumi, Secretary-General of the ITU, announced the fifth international telecommunications exhibition and forum for the Americas region would be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 25 to 28 February 2003.But shortly after the announcement, Argentina was plunged into a financial quagmire. To prevent a flight of capital, the government was forced to freeze bank withdrawals, while recently-installed president Eduardo Duhalde unpegged the Argentine peso's value from that of the U.S. dollar, leading to currency devaluation and rapid inflation. The resulting economic hardship has forced Argentines onto the streets in daily protest.Despite pulling its Latin America event, the ITU says it will be organizing its sixth regional ITU TELECOM event for the Asia-Pacific region, ASIA 2002, in December. ASIA 2002 will be hosted by the Government of the People’s Republic of China in Hong Kong SAR, and will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.In addition to hosting trade shows, the ITU adopts international regulations and treaties governing terrestrial and space use of the frequency spectrum and satellite orbits.