Washington — As the US takes more steps to monitor the fastest growing export, trade in services, the Computer & Communications Industry Association offered USTR examples of digital trade barriers faced by tech companies in comments filed Wednesday evening. CCIA also provided recommendations for upcoming NAFTA negotiations.
“Six key barriers to digital trade include data and infrastructure localization mandates, filtering and blocking, legal liability for online intermediaries, imbalanced copyright and sui generis content/link taxes, “backdoor” access to secure technologies, and undue restrictions on “rich interaction applications.” CCIA identified countries where these barriers exist and what must be done to address these trade barriers.
The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:
“With all the talk about trade agreements that better reflect U.S. interests, this is a real opportunity to better monitor and remove barriers for one of the strongest sectors, where the U.S. is a clear leader. Removing barriers would help export digital goods and services — while also exporting tools that encourage democracy by enabling access to information and free speech.”
“We have an opportunity with NAFTA to update trade policies and priorities to reflect our 21st industry, economy and exports. Unfortunately current trade agreements and enforcement priorities do not yet adequately reflect the needs of the growing Internet services sector — and that’s a missed opportunity for the tech industry, and all other industries that use the internet to reach customers or develop products.
“I am encouraged that USTR recognizes the US is a leader in the increasingly important digital services market. For US companies in this area to grow internationally our trade negotiators will have to update language on everything from legal liability for online services to undue regulations on online communications — and monitor trading partners’ behavior that is violating existing trade agreements.”