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International Trade

Executive Summary

Trade is critical to the technology sector, and ensuring that the U.S. continues to lead internationally on trade liberalization is critical to our economy.  Since the 1930s, bilateral and multilateral trade agreements have opened new markets for American companies and workers, and have also ensured a rules-based system for two-way trade.  Since the last round of major multilateral trade agreements were ratified, many new issues and challenges in the global marketplace have emerged.  In particular, the rise of digital technologies and cloud computing require updated or new agreements to ensure American technology companies and their workers can continue to innovate and lead the global technology industry.  While the political and policy issues around the TPP are complicated and involve many stakeholders, TechNet supports the TPP because it modernizes our trade laws to reflect our modern, digital economy.  TPP is the first step forward in addressing growing protectionist efforts in both Europe and Asia markets.  TPP makes key improvements to international agreements around: preventing data localization, prohibiting digital customs duties, supporting cross-border data flows, sustaining cybersecurity and encryption, barring forced technology transfers.

International Trade Principles

Trade liberalization is critical to ensuring that the U.S. continues as a global economic leader.  Improved market access for the technology sector is essential to this effort.  TechNet supports:

  • Further reductions in tariff and non-tariff barriers to information and communications technology products, services, and investments.
  • Protections for the free flow of data across borders, strong protections for intellectual property, and safe harbors against intermediary liability.
  • Greater expansion of market access for trade in services, including for those that are digitally delivered.
  • Heightened attention to the need for global value chains – particularly important to global innovation – which often are disrupted by government imposition of localization requirements, including forced technology and investment conditions that discriminate against U.S. interests.
  • Customs relief and open payment systems that support digitally-supported trade flows – particularly by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
  • These objectives can be reached through a range of U.S. trade negotiations currently being pursued, including but not limited to:
  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership between the U.S. and Pacific Rim nations.  TechNet will actively work for approval of TPP in 2016.
  • The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the U.S. and EU.
  • The Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) to liberalize trade in services among participants.
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