The U.S. is the global leader in developing and deploying innovative digital technologies; the sector is a component of U.S. economic competitiveness and future growth.  It is imperative that the Biden administration and Congress pursue a trade agenda that drives economic growth, creates jobs, and strengthens U.S. competitiveness.  Maintaining a rules-based global trading system that ensures U.S. businesses and workers are able to compete fairly in the global marketplace is critical for economic growth and job creation in the U.S.  The U.S. can improve market access for the technology sector by developing and cultivating strong relationships with our international trading partners, participating in efforts to shape global trade rules, and avoiding unnecessary trade wars that hurt American consumers, workers, and businesses of all sizes.

TechNet supports:

  • The advancement of comprehensive trade negotiations and agreements with willing partners in bilateral frameworks (the United Kingdom, European Union, Kenya, and Taiwan), and plurilateral frameworks (the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity), while ensuring that U.S. free trade agreement partners continue to comply with commitments made under existing trade agreements.
  • Renewal of Trade Promotion Authority, with increased attention to negotiation objectives on issues such as digital trade, e-commerce, good regulatory practices, sustainability/climate change, human rights, labor, and the responsible use of technology, and with careful attention to transparency throughout negotiating processes.
  • Appropriate implementation and enforcement of existing trade agreements.
  • Strong U.S. leadership at the World Trade Organization (WTO). TechNet understands the need for constructive dialogue about WTO reform, but recognizes the WTO as the world’s preeminent trade body and critical for a rules-based trading system.
  • Further trade liberalization at the WTO, including reductions in tariff and non-tariff barriers to information, communications, and advanced energy technology products, services, and investments, continued renewal of the WTO moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions, and a successful outcome in the WTO’s E-Commerce/Trade negotiations.
  • The requirement in all future free trade agreements negotiated by the U.S. that our trading partners join the WTO Information Technology Agreement (ITA), the expansion of ITA in 2015, and any future extension of ITA to new products.
  • Protections for the free flow of data across borders, appropriate protections for intellectual property (including source code), and protection of intermediary liability.
  • Allowing products with commercial encryption to be traded freely.
  • Heightened attention to the need for global supply and value chains — particularly important to global innovation — which are often disrupted by government imposition of data localization requirements, including forced technology transfers, audits of proprietary code and other trade secrets, and investment conditions that discriminate against U.S. interests.
  • The 2022 European Union-U.S. Data Privacy Framework and President Biden’s Executive Order on Enhancing Safeguards for the United States Signals Intelligence Activities. TechNet’s principles on privacy can be found here.
  • Rejecting international efforts to impose special taxes on digital businesses while encouraging governments to engage via the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s inclusive framework to develop a comprehensive income tax-based and treaty-compliant solution that applies equally across the digitized economy. A final treaty must be approved by Congress.
  • Ensure that any domestic manufacturing requirements in federal government purchasing are consistent with our international obligations and do not interfere with markets or hinder the development of global supply chains.
  • Making sure U.S. companies can compete on a level playing field for procurement opportunities with the governments of our trading partners.
  • Efforts by the U.S. Government to strengthen critical supply chains insofar as they do not discriminate in the open, global marketplaces.
  • Incentives and investments to increase the domestic production of semiconductors.
  • Greater expansion of market access for trade in services, including those that are digitally delivered.
  • Customs modernization and open payment systems that support e-commerce and digital trade flows, particularly by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This support includes trade facilitation measures and customs relief to small businesses operating abroad by compelling our trading partners to raise their de minimis thresholds to better align with the standards of the U.S. and maintaining current U.S. de minimis policy.  Congress must also preserve the U.S. de minimis threshold.
  • A copyright framework modeled on current U.S. law which incentivizes innovation by providing reliable protection for all creative works, including software. This should include appropriate limitations and exceptions, consistent with current U.S. law, to drive the growth of new emerging technologies, such as machine learning and text and data mining.
  • Interoperable data privacy and cybersecurity standards and, where available, utilizing international models and best practices.
  • Securing commitments by our trading partners to build the capabilities of their national entities responsible for coordinated vulnerability disclosures undertaken voluntarily by the private sector.
  • Addressing concerns about China’s trade practices via targeted policy responses and international coalition efforts, instead of tariffs that lead to higher prices, slower economic output, and weaker demand for American products.
  • To support high-tech manufacturing and jobs in the U.S., the Biden administration should immediately implement a fair, transparent, and comprehensive exclusion process for Section 301 China tariffs, while working toward the full removal of China tariffs that serve as a tax on American consumers and businesses.
  • The expansion of digital trade rules in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA), included in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which reformed the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., and the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA), which created new processes focused on emerging technologies. Congress and the administration should ensure that FIRRMA and ECRA are implemented in ways that keep the U.S. at the forefront of innovation in emerging technologies while effectively addressing important national security objectives.  Congress and the administration may consider a careful evaluation of whether existing law can be leveraged to address national security concerns with respect to outbound investment.

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