The Internet Law Resource Center™ is the complete information solution for practitioners in cyberlaw. Follow the latest developments on ICANN’s gTLD program, keyword advertising, online privacy,...
Nov. 23 — Tech industry groups are looking to bilateral agreements and a North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiation to advance their trade agenda, now that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is almost certainly dead and another multilateral trade deal is stalled.
Tech trade and advocacy groups such as the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and BSA | The Software Alliance, representing companies such as Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp, had heralded digital provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the second multilateral effort, the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), as essential to innovation and global growth.
The groups now are looking to President-elect Donald Trump’s promises of bilateral trade agreements and a NAFTA renegotiation as opportunities to put the provisions back in play.
“It’s hard to say what the scope of these renegotiated trade deals would be, but that would be fantastic if it would also include these digital trade issues which have emerged since the negotiation of NAFTA,” Nigel Cory, trade policy analyst at ITIF, told Bloomberg BNA.
Promoting cross-border data flows, prohibiting local data storage requirements, protecting intellectual property abroad and protecting platforms from being held accountable for content created by others -- known as intermediary liability protection -- are among elements the tech sector would like to see in future trade agreements.
Trump Nov. 21 confirmed his plan to withdraw the U.S. from the TPP, an agreement between 12 countries finalized in 2015 that the U.S. had yet to ratify. Negotiations on the Trade in Services Agreement have stalled in Geneva amid uncertainty about the incoming administration and the EU’s refusal so far to agree to e-commerce provisions.
In the U.S., digital trade has generated a $150 billion annual trade surplus, tech industry groups said in an October letter supporting trade provisions in TiSA.
After Trump’s Nov. 8 win, some tech groups had turned their attention to TiSA negotiations among 23 global economies, which seemed on track to wrap up by year’s end. That deal’s focus on the international services market also appeared more likely to pass muster in Trump’s administration. Trump focused more as a candidate on the manufacturing sector than U.S. digital trade policy.
Trump’s transition team did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
To be sure, TiSA negotiations could restart in 2017, and the tech sector hasn’t given up on it. But the deal is also facing opposition from economies such as the EU, which historically has stricter data privacy and localization policies than the U.S. The EU has pushed back on digital and e-commerce provisions under negotiation, arguing they don’t protect consumer privacy and leave people more vulnerable to data breaches.
But if TiSA fails, its digital trade provisions could be duplicated in future bilateral agreements, or in a renegotiation of NAFTA.
NAFTA, an agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, came into effect in 1994, a technological eon ago. The Obama administration had looked to TPP as a way of updating the agreement and fostering cross-border data flows.
Mexico and Canada were both involved in TPP and would likely then agree to the same data provisions, Cory said.
Tech groups are focused on Trump’s picks for major administration roles that could shape digital trade policy. Apart from several appointments at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the industry is also watching the U.S. Department of Commerce. The department’s new secretary and its new National Telecommunications and Information Administration administrator will hold influential roles.
Digital trade provisions also have bipartisan support from lawmakers, Aaron Cooper, vice president for global policy at BSA | The Software Alliance, told Bloomberg BNA.
While Trump’s campaign never released a detailed tech policy, the Republican National Committee’s platform, released in July, mentions support of the free flow of data across borders.
To contact the reporter on this story: Michaela Ross in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at email@example.com
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)