VSAT Systems Asserts Rights Under CAFTA; Challenges Latest MINAET Request; Appeals Decision to Minister
AKRON, Ohio, March 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — VSAT Systems, a satellite telecommunications provider headquartered in Akron, Ohio, has been working diligently to get authorization under CAFTA for its reseller DatZap, LLC to conduct business in Costa Rica since early 2009. After having their application rejected once again, VSAT Systems has appealed to the Minister of MINAET (Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications).
During the last three years, hundreds of pages of supporting documentation have been provided to various agencies of the Costa Rican government in support of the application. On January 26th, 2012, SUTEL (Superintendent of Telecommunications in Costa Rica) recommended that DatZap’s application be approved, and forwarded the file to MINAET for what should have been a routine issuance of a license to operate. MINAET requested some “final clarifying documents” from the company and some procedural information from SUTEL, which “were all provided completely and in a timely manner,” states VSAT Systems’ President Mike Kister.
Instead of issuing the license, on February 29th MINAET requested an additional fourteen documents be translated, certified, audited and presented before the Ministry. The company balked. “Over the past three years and a dozen separate requests for documents, they never asked for any of this before. The current actions of the Ministry are arbitrary and designed only to delay issuance of the license,” stated Kister.
On March 5th, the company filed an appeal, claiming that the MINAET’s new requests were beyond the scope of their authority, and violated the “Citizen Protection Law of Excess Requirements and Administrative Procedures.” Eight days later, MINAET rejected the appeal. The company has now appealed the decision directly to the Minister of MINAET.
“To be honest, we are not hopeful,” states Kister. “Under the terms of CAFTA, this license should have been granted routinely. The USTR (United States Trade Representative) is unwilling to engage in any meaningful way to protect US interests and enforce CAFTA. If this appeal is unsuccessful, I don’t know how much more we’re going to be able to do. We’ve already spent $300,000 chasing this with no end in sight. It’s unfortunate, but it might be time to stop throwing good money after bad.”
Executive Summary of DatZap’s Experience:
Chronological Transcript of DatZap’s Experience:
SOURCE VSAT Systems