October 29, 2015

WASHINGTON - The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), the global voice for the technology sector, released comments the organization submitted today to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) detailing trade barriers technology companies are encountering while doing business around the world. The comments are in response to a request by USTR’s Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) to identify significant barriers to U.S. exports of goods, services, and U.S. foreign direct investment for inclusion in the National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE).

ITI’s comments focus on governments employing forced localization measures, also known as ‘localization barriers to trade’. The technology advocacy group reported its member companies have experienced a significant increase in the use of forced localization measures across the globe, especially in many large emerging markets such as China, Indonesia, Nigeria, Russia, Turkey and Vietnam. Because eliminating localization barriers to trade is now a prominent negotiating objective in the Bipartisan Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, the group has requested that the TPSC include in the 2016 NTE a dedicated section that covers these measures and highlights the threat that they pose to the U.S. and global economies.

Often done under the guise of promoting local industries or protecting privacy, data localization has proven to be ineffective at achieving these goals. Instead, ITI noted, localization efforts interrupt the free flow of data that underpins the complex online networks connecting the globe in ways that threaten the cultural and economic growth potential of the Internet and Internet-based technologies.

The comments are available by clicking here.

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Public Policy Tags: Forced Localization, Trade & Investment