New USTR NTE Report Focuses On Digital Trade Barriers, Warns That New EU Regulations Could Raise New Barriers

BY Heather Greenfield
April 3, 2017

Washington — The USTR has released its annual report on trade barriers. It flagged digital trade barriers like internet censorship, but also included issues with new EU regulations aimed at internet services.

The 2017 National Trade Estimate (NTE) report listed foreign trade barriers such as China blocking access to online sites and services, laws on cyber security, encryption, cloud computing and forced data localization. It also noted that new EU regulations on copyright, audio-visual media services, telecommunications, ePrivacy, data flows, and the “right to be forgotten”—largely aimed at U.S. Internet companies—“may raise concerns from a trade perspective.”

For decades, the Computer & Communications Industry Association has called on U.S. officials to address digital trade barriers, including its latest comments to USTR ahead of this annual report.

The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“As more tech companies expand services around the world, it’s important that diplomats and trade officials note the barriers when a country suppresses online information, demands weakened encryption, or has copyright laws that are not conducive to innovation. We appreciate that this latest NTE report broadly recognizes the range of digital trade barriers tech companies face. It better defines how practices like Internet filtering, encryption rules, and cloud computing restrictions on everything from where data is stored to Internet-enabled payment are all barriers to digital trade.”

“USTR’s efforts to remove digital trade barriers like Internet censorship and imbalanced copyright laws can strengthen online commerce and online rights globally.”

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