Washington – Ahead of President Joe Biden’s visit to Canada that begins on March 23, the Computer & Communications Industry Association signed a letter with 9 other industry organizations raising concerns about Canada’s trade-restrictive policies. In particular, three proposals seeking restrictive rules and/or the extracting and redistributing of revenue from U.S. online platforms to Canadian entities are of great concern.
These policies—the Online Streaming Act, the Online News Act, and proposed digital services taxes—reflect inconsistencies with the longstanding and strong trading partnership between the United States and Canada, underpinned by the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement.
An excerpt from the letter is available below:
“Given the momentum behind each of these three proposed pieces of legislation, which could pass this year, urgent action is needed to review and mitigate any potential discriminatory effects on U.S. technology companies. As bipartisan members of Congress have argued, the U.S. government should ensure that the USMCA is enforced to avoid these negative outcomes for North American strategic interests.”
CCIA has engaged on these proposals extensively since their introduction. CCIA has published a White Paper on C-18, the Online News Act, and C-11, the Online Streaming Act, as well as materials including a two-pager highlighting the damaging effects of Bill C-18 to U.S. exports, journalism, and the internet ecosystem.
The following can be attributed to Jonathan McHale, Vice President of Digital Trade:
“With the President and his senior advisors set to meet with counterparts in Canada to fortify this crucial relationship, it is incumbent on U.S. leadership to make clear that obstacles to U.S. digital exports will not be ignored. For USMCA to remain relevant for both our countries, and continue to support millions of jobs and billions of dollars boosting the U.S. trade balance, officials must be prepared to defend this agreement’s commitments when they are undermined.
“If allies as close as Canada and the United States, committed to rule of law, cannot resolve clear-cut issues like this, we will fail in our advocacy for a rules-based system supporting mutually-beneficial trade where there are real consequences for breaking the rules.”