Tech Industry Letter to USTR Regarding De Minimis in USMCA

BY Heather Greenfield
November 8, 2018

Washington — The Computer & Communications Industry Association joined 14 other associations in a letter to United States Trade Representative Lighthizer Tuesday requesting that a footnote be removed in the recently-agreed USMCA which suggests that the United States could lower its de minimis threshold for Canada and Mexico to a “reciprocal amount.”

The letter notes industry’s disappointment in Canada’s and Mexico’s failure to raise their de minimis level to commercially-significant levels, disadvantaging U.S. e-commerce and small businesses. Industry is concerned that lowering the U.S. level pursuant to this provision would further negatively impact the U.S. economy.

Earlier this week, CCIA also joined 29 other associations in a letter Lighthizer on ensuring future agreements include key digital trade priorities. The letter asked Lighthizer to build on the digital trade foundation in the recent agreement with Canada and Mexico as the administration looks to negotiate free trade agreements with Japan, the European Union and United Kingdom.

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

“The USMCA represents significant step forward in modernizing trade in North America for the digital economy. However, the failure to fully address inequities in de minimis levels discourages e-commerce. Congress was clear in its bipartisan move to raise the de minimis level in the United States to $800 in 2016 and USTR should work to uphold this achievement.”

“As digital trade grows in importance US officials must recognize policies from data localization to a lack of liability protections that can harm US companies and act as trade barriers. Failure to address these concerns in future trade agreements would restrict tech sector’s access to global markets.”

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