Washington – Participants of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) met this past week in Singapore to hold the third round of negotiations for the agreement. Following the conclusion of these meetings, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Department of Commerce issued a brief statement but did not provide further details.
Launched one year ago, the U.S. wanted IPEF to solidify the partnership and improve trade and economic cooperation with partners in the region. However, many have expressed concerns on the lack of ambition on behalf of the U.S. to pursue any level of high-standard agreement with respect to digital rules—rules addressing barriers that affect every exporter, big or small, in every sector. It is concerning that the U.S. has not released more information on the progress regarding core elements of the digital text following the Singapore round. CCIA strongly encourages parties to seek robust digital trade rules to set a high-standard agreement and has joined partner industry groups in calling for strong digital trade rules in IPEF.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association has supported policies that promote digital trade for more than 50 years.
The following can be attributed CCIA Vice President, Digital Trade, Jonathan McHale:
“Given the importance of digital technologies throughout the U.S. economy, failure to pursue high standard rules in the digital text will hurt exporters regardless of size or sector and limit their ability to participate in the global economy. This is not about helping the largest firms or benefiting technology companies, but rather ensuring a regulatory environment among key trading partners that empowers a wide variety of businesses as most rely on digital services and tools to compete globally.
“Further, the U.S. cannot afford to cede leadership in the region with respect to such a significant sector of strategic importance. U.S. industries lead in technological innovation worldwide, and for the trade agenda of the Administration to not only fail to address key issues, but accept and legitimize the very barriers impeding success, would be a policy failure. Unless put on track, the digital provisions of this agreement risks actively undermining U.S. economic interests to the detriment of all users and beneficiaries of digital tools.”