ITC Report Highlights TPP Benefits to the Digital Economy

By Lisa Malloy, director of Government Relations and Trade Policy for Intel

Trade agreements have long been a major contributor to improving U.S. competitiveness and economic growth. That’s certainly true for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which will help U.S. businesses to better access fast-growing markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

In addition to traditional benefits like market access for agriculture and manufactured goods, TPP includes several new provisions that make important strides in securing the future of our digital economy. Last week, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) released its report (PDF) analyzing the economic benefits of the TPP. The report provides important context for the U.S. debate on TPP, especially with regard to the digital economy.

The report notes: “TPP is the first U.S. trade agreement that would prohibit measures that compel companies to conduct certain digital trade-related activities within a country’s borders.” That’s important, because it means that markets drive competition, not policy.

In fact, the ITC report indicates that the digital trade-related provisions are among the most transformative measures in the agreement, calling the E-Commerce chapter a broad framework for digital trade. This is critical for the growing industries around cloud computing and the Internet of Things, which together represent some of the most important global opportunities for American businesses.

The ITC report also confirms that TPP provisions in many other areas relevant to the technology sector will positively affect American businesses and the economy. These areas include eliminating or reducing tariff and non-tariff technical barriers to trade, increased intellectual property protection, and allowing foreign participation in domestic rulemaking and standard setting. The report also acknowledges the value to industry of TPP’s provisions requiring greater enforcement of trade secrets theft and restricting local content mandates, both of which we believe are serious problems for the high tech industry.

The 95% of consumers that live outside the United States sustain high paying jobs at here at home, which is why Intel supports initiatives liberalizing trade around the world. Today, there are many governments around the world obstructing the conclusion of trade agreements. The U.S. Congress should counter this behavior and demonstrate our leadership by passing and implementing TPP.

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