Washington – As the Senate Finance Committee considers bipartisan legislation to authorize the Obama administration’s Trade Promotion Authority, it held a hearing Thursday “Advancing Congress’s Trade Agenda, The Role of Trade Negotiating Authority.” The Computer & Communications Industry Association released its written statement for the hearing thanking senators for beginning to recognize the growing importance of digital trade in the economy.

The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that 21% of GDP growth over the past 5 years is attributable to the Internet and that 2.6 jobs are created for every job lost.

CCIA has advocated expanding trade for decades and told Senators that trade agreements that ensure the free flow of information and reflect balanced intellectual property laws like those found in the U.S. will help both U.S. and other nations’ tech companies grow. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“Given its importance, we must make efforts to ensure the broadest bipartisan support for free trade.  The best trade agenda is one that secures the broadest buy-in from stakeholders. We further appreciate this committee’s efforts to make trade promotion more transparent.  Transparency builds trust with stakeholders, and is more essential than ever in our information age, user empowered world.

“Since Trade Promotion Authority was last enacted in 2002, the technology sector has a much better appreciation of how intellectual property laws help and harm the expansion of trade. Our negotiators need to understand the importance of the balance at the heart of US law.  Internet trade is confronted with IP laws that do not adequately reflect the appropriate balance presently found in U.S. law and practice. It is vital to ensure U.S. companies are not held liable abroad for copyright and other IP practices that are legal here. U.S. companies simply can’t afford to expand into overseas markets where liability risks are too unclear or too great.

“The potential economic benefits of Internet related trade are immense.  Yet businesses face numerous additional barriers today: impediments to cross-border data flows, mandates on the location and use of technology infrastructure, forced technology transfer, and unreasonable liability rules regarding third-party activity.  These issues were not addressed when Congress last considered the issue of Trade Promotion Authority more than a decade ago, so much work needs to be done to ensure trade agreements reflect a balanced and pragmatic approach.”

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