Trade and Opening Global Markets

Trade and Opening Global Markets

Data services rely on the ability to transfer data across borders. Some countries are pursuing data localization requirements or other restrictions on data transfers. These policies chill innovation and harm the ability of US companies to compete. BSA supports:

  • the Privacy Shield for trans-Atlantic data transfers;
  • eliminating non-competitive country-specific market barriers for IT products and services that restrict the ability of US companies to compete overseas;
  • strong data flow commitments among trading partners; and
  • Urging trading partners to reject arbitrary geographic restrictions and requirements for data-storage facilities

In addition, opening markets requires trade rules and policies that ensure government procurement is open to foreign products and services, technology standards are developed through industry-led processes, and security-related regulations are not used as disguised barriers to foreign products.

North American Free Trade Agreement Modernization

NAFTA Quote Lighthizer

The United States Government has announced its intention to initiate negotiations with the Governments of Canada and Mexico to modernize the 1992 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As is required by Trade Promotion Authority law, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) sought comments from industry as it develops negotiating objectives and positions for the agreement. Negotiations among the three governments are expected to start in August, 2017.

NAFTA Quote Wyden

BSA has developed proposals for NAFTA modernization, set forth in Modernizing Digital Trade: An Agenda for Software in NAFTA and Beyond. In addition, on June 12, 2017, BSA responded to USTR’s request for comments. We urge that a modernized NAFTA include provisions addressing digital trade issues that have emerged in the past twenty-five years, including ensuring the free movement of data across borders and prohibiting data localization requirements, safeguarding intellectual property, and limiting the role of government regulation of software.


NAFTA Quote Thune

National Trade Estimate (NTE) Report

The law requires the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to issue an annual report on significant trade barriers affecting US exports of goods and services, foreign investment by US persons, as well intellectual property rights. This report is called the National Trade Estimate (NTE) Report and it is used to highlight trade barriers and facilitate engagement with US trading partners to reduce or eliminate such barriers. 

On October 27, 2016, BSA responded to USTR’s latest request for comments to inform the 2017 NTE Report. Our comments highlighted increasing barriers to digital trade that are being erected globally, including limits on cross-border data flows, burdensome and unbalanced security and privacy regulations, public procurement preferences, among others. Many of these issues were highlighted on the 2017 NTE Report. In conjunction with the report, USTR also issued a Key Digital Trade Barriers Fact Sheet


USICT Investigations on Digital Trade

The US International Trade Commission (USITC) will conduct three investigations on digital trade in response to a request from the Office of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) made in January 2017. The first investigation titled “Global Digital Trade: Market Opportunities and Key Foreign Trade Restrictions”, will be finalized and the report will be delivered to USTR by August, 2017. This report will include information on market access barriers in the European Union, China, Russia, Brazil, India, and Indonesia. BSA submitted written comments and participated in a public hearing held in April to help inform the report. The other reports will be delivered to USTR in 2018 and 2019.

BSA’s 2017 Policy Agenda

Learn more about BSA’s positions on data policy, intellectual property, workforce development, and emerging technologies.

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