International trade is an engine for America’s economic strength and job creation. Over the past 50 years, U.S. exports have expanded 80-fold, from $26 billion in 1961 to a record $2.1 trillion. And U.S. exports to the Asia-Pacific region totaled nearly $900 billion in 2011, a 15 percent increase from 2010, and equal to 60 percent of total U.S. goods exports to the world. This is an area where ITI has special expertise, with a global team that is working constantly to create new opportunities and expand global trade in technology products and services.
With 95 percent of our customers outside the United States, this overseas trade makes an impact far beyond any company’s financial statement; it makes an enormous difference for families and communities across the country. More than 50 million American workers are employed by firms engaged in international trade – a figure that grows every year. In the tech sector, our workers and companies compete in a fiercely competitive, fast-growing global market. That’s why ITI pursues ambitious initiatives to reduce trade barriers and increase market access for American technology products and services so we can continue to grow and create jobs at home.
Our work includes shaping policies and initiatives that open markets, promote free and open competition, rely on market-based solutions, protect intellectual property, and develop and advance the use of voluntary, global standards. We also work to ensure international trade initiatives address next-generation trade issues that impact the ICT sector, including innovation, cloud, and cyber-security policies.
Here are a few highlights of ITI’s key trade priorities.
Expand product coverage in the Information Technology Agreement (ITA): ITI has been at the leading industry efforts to expand product coverage of the WTO’s Information Technology Agreement (ITA). With expansion talks now underway in Geneva, ITI is committed to ensuring work moves quickly with the aim of negotiations concluding by the end of 2013. ITIF estimates resulting tariff reductions would increase U.S. jobs by 60,000, boost exports by $2.8 billion, and expand U.S. ICT revenues by $10 billion. Read the latest global industry statement on ITA expansion.
Advance the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is poised to establish a comprehensive, high-standard regional trade agreement that would deliver myriad benefits to the tech industry. As co-chair of the ICT Working Group of the TPP Business Coalition, ITI has assumed a leadership role in driving tech-friendly outcomes in the negotiations that would include greater regulatory transparency, stronger intellectual property rights enforcement, binding provisions to support the cross-border flow of data, and light-touch approaches to encryption regulation.
Engagement in the U.S.: Work with key government trade agencies, such as the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Department of Commerce and the Department of State to address trade issues globally. In coordination with ITI’s Government Relations team, we also play a key leadership role on trade issues for the tech industry on Capitol Hill. In addition, ITI serves as the Secretariat of the High-Tech Trade Coalition -- a coalition of roughly 15 associations representing the trade priorities of the U.S. technology industry in Washington.
Engagement Globally: ITI collaborates with tech industry associations around the world to harness the influence of the global tech industry and more effectively address issues in key markets. We also regularly engage foreign governments to address market access barriers to ICT products. And we advocate on behalf of the tech industry in various multilateral fora such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the World Trade Organization.