logo logo

Business lobby urges Biden to negotiate digital trade agreement

Bloomberg | 9 February 2022

Business lobby urges Biden to negotiate digital trade agreement

By Eric Martin

The U.S. should negotiate a digital trade deal with like-minded countries to guarantee protection on issues including the movement of data across borders, the nation’s biggest business lobbying group said.

In a report set to be released Wednesday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce outlines the case. The organization identifies a group of countries that it dubs the “Digital Dozen” that would be good partners. They include Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Taiwan, the U.K. and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Information and communications technology exports supported an estimated 317,000 jobs in 2020, similar to U.S. airplane and aerospace exports, the Chamber said. The U.S. digital economy, valued at $2 trillion in 2019, is growing almost three times as fast as the broader economy, the Chamber said.

U.S. exports of services that could potentially be offered digitally — such as management and consulting, and financial advisory services — have more than doubled in the past decade, with developed economies including Europe and the Asia Pacific the top markets, the Washington-based group said.

“Export opportunities for digitally tradeable services are expanding rapidly, and the U.S. is well positioned to build on its formidable advantages in these areas,” the Chamber said. “However, these opportunities are endangered by the spread of digital protectionism and the accumulation of discriminatory digital rules that often target American firms.”

The Biden administration has been working on an economic framework agreement with Asian nations and plans to share more details in the coming weeks. The U.S. is aiming for the pact — known as the Indo-Pacific economic framework — to include digital issues like data localization and cross-border data flows, deputy U.S. Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi said last week.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who is leading the U.S. work with USTR Katherine Tai, announced the plan in November after talks with Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan. The Biden administration has made clear that it isn’t rejoining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership after then-President Donald Trump abandoned an earlier version of the deal.

 source: Bloomberg