October 17, 2016
WASHINGTON–Today, the Internet Association, along with ACT | The App Association, BSA | The Software Alliance, Computer and Communications Industry Association, Consumer Technology Association, Internet Infrastructure Coalition, and Information Technology Industry Council, sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman urging him to prioritize digital trade issues in TiSA negotiations.
“As negotiations reach a critical phase, we urge you to intensify efforts to reach an agreement that will promote digital trade and empower small businesses, entrepreneurs, developers, and users. TiSA represents a unique opportunity to create a new framework that promotes cross-border trade in digital services, protects the free and open internet, and encourages the free flow of information, both among TiSA’s twenty-three dynamic economies and around the world,” the letter states.
“Intermediary liability protections enable trade by boosting commerce and increasing export opportunities for U.S. small businesses who connect with the global marketplace through the internet,” said Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman. “USTR has a strong track record of supporting the internet economy, and we urge Ambassador Froman to ensure TiSA includes robust liability protections for internet services from content generated by others.”
“A Trade in Services Agreement promises to turbocharge opportunities for American entrepreneurs, small businesses, and companies of all kinds,” said ITI President and CEO Dean Garfield. “The free movement of digital information across borders is essential to growing the global economy, creating jobs, supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses, and promoting the innovation that makes all of our lives better. A TiSA that embraces a commitment to free cross-border data flows can help us realize these benefits, while ensuring that governments can protect important public interests, such as privacy and data protection.”
"For app makers and startups to continue to grow and meet customer demands, they must have the ability to engage in the global digital economy, which represents over $8 trillion of commerce annually,” said Morgan Reed, executive director of ACT | The App Association. “TiSA presents a crucial opportunity to provide clarity around digital trade issues, such as safeguarding the free flow of data across borders and guaranteeing strong intellectual property protections.”
“TISA has great promise to expand software services trade across the globe. That’s why BSA | The Software Alliance has joined this call for USTR to insist that the agreement contain strong protections for data flows, prohibit localization measures that discriminate against global software providers, and open the door to the new, innovative services our members offer,” said Victoria A. Espinel, President and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance.
"As a key driver of our economy, Internet issues should receive a thoughtful, complete, and transparent discussion in the TiSA negotiations. In an environment where trade treaty negotiations are subject to intense scrutiny, concrete, measurable progress on issues critical to the Internet is required,” said David Snead, i2Coalition Chairman of Board of Directors, Policy Working Group Chair, and cPanel General Counsel.
The letter calls for the final TiSA agreement to include binding and enforceable language in five key areas: allowing for the free flow of data; prohibiting local data storage and management requirements; ensuring TiSA provisions apply to all services, including new services; providing intermediary liability protections for online and cloud platforms; and limiting to the number and scope of departures that TiSA parties may take from market access obligations.
To read the full letter, click here.