Trump Should Resurrect TPP for Tech’s Sake, Trade Group Says


 

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The Trans Pacific Partnership is all but dead to the incoming Trump administration. But if the president-elect is really worried about unfair Chinese advantages over the U.S. tech industry, he should consider a resurrection of the trade deal, said Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Technology Association.

“Now I know he said it's bad, but it is our primary tool against China at this point,” Shapiro said in an interview for C-SPAN’s program, ‘The Communicators.’

Trump has said he will throw out the 12-country trade partnership, also known as the TPP, on day one of his presidency. China, which was not included in the deal, has long riddled the U.S. tech industry’s growth within its borders with requirements that data be kept on local servers, restrictions on access to markets and looser intellectual property theft enforcement.

Shapiro said Trump’s best strategy against China is to renegotiate the deal, then band with the other countries that have already agreed to it, because “China’s the one we really have to be looking at.”

Trump’s pick for Commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, and Peter Navarro, who will lead the newly created White House National Trade Council, have also criticized the TPP. The trio’s criticism of the trade deal has focused mainly on its potential negative impact on traditional U.S. manufacturing, but the pact also includes digital provisions to facilitate cross-border data flows and intellectual property protections that the tech industry applauded.

Ross faced some questioning about Commerce’s role in trade agreements during his hearing with the Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Jan. 18, but his nomination is expected to move ahead.