The Computer & Communications Industry Association outlined growing threats and policies that curb digital trade in testimony at a USTR hosted hearing Wednesday afternoon on the US/EU’s free trade agreement known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

CCIA noted that trade agreements have unfortunately not kept up with the thriving Internet industry and recommended the TTIP include a strong e-commerce chapter and strong intermediary liability protection, and avoid protectionist measures when it comes to data hosting. CCIA also called for customs harmonization and provisions that clearly recognize Internet censorship as a trade barrier.

The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black who testified before the ITC on the tech industry’s recommendations for the administration’s trade policy:

“Trade agreements have not kept up with the thriving Internet industry which offers both services and a means to deliver products around the world. As a result, it is far easier for countries to block bits at the border than Buicks.”

“Internet censorship needs to be not just a top diplomatic priority, but a trade priority as well so that censorship is no longer a trade barrier that is difficult to combat. An accord between the world’s most advanced and open economies should reaffirm the concept of the free flow of information, and thereby provide an important beacon for the rest of the international trade community.

“If IP regulation becomes part of this latest trade agreement, we must reaffirm the limitations and exceptions that US industry depend on. Even though European law contains some protections similar to ours, they are not adequately applied – often when US intermediaries are on trial against domestic interests. These liability risks weaken private sector confidence and weaken market entry.”

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