Washington — Digital trade is expected to be a focus as the U.S. modernizes the more than 20 year old NAFTA. The U.S. is now the largest global exporter of trade in services, and the internet is the biggest component of services exports. The Computer & Communications Industry Association submitted comments to USTR ahead of the midnight deadline on removing digital trade barriers. CCIA encouraged USTR to prevent restrictions on competition, ensure the free flow of data and promote clear online liability and balanced intellectual property rules, including fair use protections for digital technology exports.

In its comments, CCIA cited two recent studies it commissioned. One study showed the economic benefit of rich interaction applications (RIAs) — applications that facilitate rich interaction such as, photo/video sharing, location sharing, payment and chat among individuals, groups and enterprises. The study found that for every 10 percent increase in worldwide usage of RIAs, global GDP increased by an average of 5.6 trillion.

Another study illustrated the economic growth of industries that depend on exceptions to copyright law like fair use. The fair use study by Capital Trade that CCIA commissioned found that in 2014 fair use industries accounted for 16 percent of the U.S. economy, employed 1 in 8 workers and contributed $2.8 trillion to the GDP.

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

“For any country to have a thriving digital economy, it’s important to have advanced telecommunications services, the free flow of data and competition. The recommendations we are offering to USTR would protect the foundation policies vital to the U.S. tech industry and promote U.S. technology exports to Canada and Mexico, while also encouraging innovation in those countries. Part of the reason the U.S. is the leader in internet services is there are fewer unnecessarily burdensome regulations on internet services and clear limits to the liability risks our companies face for what users do online. Another advantage has been that the U.S. respects limitations on copyright like fair use that enhance the transfer of knowledge and are key to numerous industries from universities to the media to the tech sector.”

“It will be critical to encourage the free flow of data and resist demands for data localization and weakened encryption. It will also be important in modernizing NAFTA for the digital era to make a clear distinction between information services and telecommunications services so that current internet applications and services can thrive and next generation ones can start up.”

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