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Enormous Opportunity in the U.S.-EU Trade Talks

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) presents significant opportunities for new job creation and economic growth for both the United States and the European Union – if negotiators can forge an agreement that reflects the dynamic, innovative marketplace in both regions. That’s the message ITI’s Dean Garfield will offer at a Wednesday House hearing on TTIP.

Dean’s testimony is going to focus not only on the opportunity the TTIP offers, but also on the challenges that need to be addressed during the negotiations. His remarks are going to fall into three primary areas:

Fostering Competiveness, Growth, and Jobs: On this one, it’s straightforward. The U.S. and EU, together, account for one-half of the world’s GDP and one-third of all world trade. The Center for Economic Policy Research estimates a transatlantic trade and investment pact would add $155 billion a year to the EU economy and $124 billion a year to the U.S. economy, while increasing annual global GDP by $130 billion. Dean’s testimony gets into the tech-focused elements:

As the digital trade becomes an even more fundamental element of the global economy, provisions to support the development and growth of information and communications technology (ICT) services, cloud computing, and e-commerce are critical if both sides of the Atlantic are to fully realize our shared potential in terms of investment and new business and job creation.

Digital trade, investment, and business and job creation are coming from a number of sources, a few of which are important to highlight here, namely, ICT services and cloud computing.

Reducing Burdens to Trade through Example: The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation has noted the benefits of an agreement such as TTIP are about innovation gains such as “…car manufacturers being freed from having to obtain multiple certifications every time they put a new vehicle on the market or the pharmaceutical industry being freed from having to separately test new treatments on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Importantly, this area also can help to combat the trend of forced localization that is a serious and growing concern. The United States and Europe are working together to combat forced localization policies, most recently in India. Such cooperation that can be reinforced through the TTIP.

We believe the United States and Europe can build on that collaboration and promote sound regulatory approaches that can serve as an alternative model for building innovation and manufacturing capabilities. Specifically, the TTIP commitments should clarify that market access for ICT goods and services shall not be conditioned on involuntary requirements to transfer technology, or invest in, develop, or use local R&D, intellectual property, ICT manufacturing or assembly capabilities.

Promoting Regulatory Convergence: ITI is urging the TTIP negotiators to develop a framework that would avoid unnecessary regulatory divergences in emerging sectors that are ripe for future growth and job opportunities, such as nanotechnologies. Alignment of regulations and standards-setting could significantly reduce costs, create conditions that make both markets attractive for new investment and startups, and compel other countries and regions of the world to engage in similar harmonization efforts to stay competitive.

One idea that Dean will put forward is the creation of an “early warning system” on prospective or revised regulations to reduce uncertainty for business, while also providing industry with the opportunity to share essential, timely market and technical expertise with regulators and other stakeholders. He’ll also call for increased transparency in the regulatory arena.

[T]he common approach would serve as a model to help both governments to better address many of the emerging practices of concern to the transatlantic ICT community, such as opaque standardization practices, inadequate participation rights and comment periods, and the creation of unique national technical specifications that deviate from global standards. A common transatlantic approach to standardization that adheres to the above criteria could serve as an effective tool to discourage certain standards-setting approaches in emerging markets that deviate significantly from relevant global standards and tend to favor domestic businesses.

We’re very interested to hear the reactions from lawmakers to these ideas. We’re looking forward to finding ways to work with them and the other economic sectors engaged in the TTIP to shape a final agreement that creates new economic momentum and job opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic.

The hearing starts Wednesday morning at 9:45 a.m. ET. To get a more complete look at our views, Dean’s prepared testimony is available here.

Public Policy Tags: Broadband, Communications, & Spectrum, Regulatory Compliance, Industry Standards, Trade & Investment, Cybersecurity, Internet of Things, Forced Localization