Digital technology has transformed the way we live, learn, work, and do business, and our economy today is connected like never before. This week, we have a chance to further improve the environment for digital trade when Argentine President Mauricio Macri and his team visit Washington, D.C. to meet with President Trump and administration officials to discuss a wide-range of issues. We urge both governments to use this opportunity to develop a path forward together for enhancing policies that create an environment for digital trade to flourish.
There has never been a more important time for a global digital trade agenda, and there has never been a more important opportunity than the one presented to Argentina today. This December, Argentina is hosting the 11th Ministerial Conference (MC11) of the World Trade Organization (WTO), followed by taking the presidency of the G20 in 2018.
These discussions come at a critical time, however, where skepticism about the benefits of global trade and technological advances challenge the very progress that has been made on these fronts. Argentina has experienced this skepticism firsthand, and it has overcome it to become a leading voice in global integration and inclusive, positive technological progress. It is no surprise that four of the six Latin American tech unicorns come from Argentina, given its longstanding focus on education, skills, and innovation. Additionally, the Macri Administration’s embrace of global and regional integration and the benefits trade brings to all aspects of the economy is a leading force for Argentina’s resurgence as an economic powerhouse.
In order for countries around the world to continue to grow and lift their people into prosperity, there must be an environment which supports innovation and recognizes its barrier breaking, dynamic nature. The relentless, fast-paced digitization of industry in all sectors requires a new way of thinking and a new set of interconnected policies that allow communities, businesses, and people anywhere to see the benefits of this change. A comprehensive set of digital trade rules would ensure the benefits of these technologies are more widespread, more fairly treated, and more beneficial to communities and businesses in every corner of the world.
Argentina has already taken critical steps to pursue robust digital trade outcomes during MC11, recognizing that a free and open internet and cross-border data flows make trade among nations more inclusive and spur economic development. In June 2016, the Argentine Ministry of Production and ITI jointly signed a statement noting the important role of technology as an enabler for the entire economy, highlighting key policy commitments and priorities that ensure competitiveness and dynamic growth across all economic sectors. ITI is excited to support Argentina’s leadership in such an important aspect of trade, investment, and growth.
Argentina is poised to lead the global digital trade agenda in the WTO and G20 and we hope this topic will be at the forefront of the meetings between the United States and Argentina this week. We urge them to work together to achieve this important progress for trade and investment opportunities in our two nations and around the world.