Computer & Communication Industry Association
PublishedNovember 7, 2023

Industry Responds to USTR Retreat From U.S. Leadership at WTO E-commerce Negotiations

Washington — The Computer & Communications Industry Association  joined a wide coalition of industry representatives in a letter to the White House expressing strong concerns about the  U.S. Trade Representative’s decision to withdraw support from key digital trade rules. Signatories included associations representing the tech, pharmaceutical, retail, and entertainment industries.

Last week, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced that it will no longer be supporting certain proposals at the World Trade Organization in the ongoing e-commerce negotiations. Specifically, USTR is reversing U.S. policy on trade rules on cross-border flow of data, data localization, and protection of source code. These are core trade rules which the United States and close trade partners have adhered to for 25 years. 

The announcement has been met with a strong response from Congressional leaders. 

The Computer & Communications Industry Association has advocated for the free flow of data and digital trade agreements for decades, and has been strongly supportive of the WTO process since its inception. 

The following can be attributed to CCIA Vice President for Digital Trade Jonathan McHale:

“As shown by the breadth of industries expressing concerns, the U.S. digital trade retreat will only leave U.S. businesses, workers, and consumers worse off. The sudden and perplexing decision of USTR to abandon its global leadership by pulling back from negotiating key digital rules at the WTO must be revisited.”