Computer & Communication Industry Association
PublishedMay 10, 2024

CCIA Publishes White Papers Detailing the History and Benefits of Digital Trade

Washington – The Computer & Communications Industry Association published two White Papers detailing the history of cross-border data flow commitments and highlighting the benefits of digital trade in response to common myths about their harms.  The two papers, titled “USTR’s Revisionist History on Data and Trade Agreements” and “Responding to the Myths Holding Back U.S. Action on Digital Trade,” respond to quotes from recent testimony of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in oversight hearings before the House Ways & Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.  

The first paper, “USTR’s Revisionist History on Data and Trade Agreements,” provides a historical perspective on the United States’ longstanding record of support for cross-border data flows, going back to 1980.  The second paper, “Responding to the Myths Holding Back U.S. Action on Digital Trade,” highlights the importance of digital trade to U.S. priorities and responds to the arguments of those who believe digital trade rules should not currently be pursued or enforced on the global stage.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association has advocated for digital trade rules that strengthen the global economy for over 50 years.

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

“Strong digital trade rules reflect the broader interests of the United States in support of its economy, workers, national security, and democratic priorities on the global stage.  Historically, the U.S. Trade Representative has led the way alongside close international partners to negotiate and enforce commitments that connect like-minded allies and protect the flow of information and enhance mutually-beneficial commercial activity.”  

“In recent months, we have seen one unsupported argument after another justifying the recent U.S. trade policy shift, the abandonment of robust rules that support cross-border data flows, prohibit unjust data localization and discriminatory treatment of digital products, and protect companies’ source code from compelled disclosure.  These justifications are reliant on myths that reflect neither the history nor the evidence in support of such rules, ignoring a wide range of economic and societal benefits.  We must remember the origins of U.S. leadership in this area, as valid today as in the past—and the history of cross-border data flow commitments date back 40 years.  U.S. trade policy leaders should redirect digital priorities back on track at a moment when digital protectionism and authoritarian approaches to governance are gaining ground.”