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US: Customs Duties on Software and Other Digital Exports - A Threat to Growth and Innovation

The United States and many other countries around the world have benefited from an unprecedented period of growth and innovation powered by the software-enabled digital economy and supported by the World Trade Organization (WTO) Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions (Moratorium) – an agreement among WTO members not to impose customs duties on cross-border electronic transmissions.

Today, that growth and innovation is threatened as countries are considering terminating this agreement and imposing – for the first time ever – customs duties on software, music, film, and other digital products and services transmitted electronically over computer networks. Such duties jeopardize US jobs and exports.

US policymakers should encourage countries to vote in favor of an extension of the Moratorium and should resist efforts to negotiate these issues at the World Customs Organization (WCO), which lacks the mandate to set such duties.

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