October 15, 2014

WASHINGTON – the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), the premier trade advocacy organization for leading technology companies, today released a joint letter by a broad coalition of 40 international associations urging Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiators to include rules facilitating robust cross-border data flows in an agreement.  The letter comes as trade ministers and negotiators prepare to gather in Australia to discuss the proposed regional free-trade agreement.

The following is the text of the letter:

October 15, 2014

Trade Ministers and Chief Negotiators of TPP Negotiating Parties: 

Dear Sirs and Madams,

The ability to use and transmit data in digital form is the lifeblood of companies large and small, from all sectors of the economy and in both developed and developing countries. The seamless movement of data across borders enables businesses of every size, in every sector, in every part of the world to access innovative products and services that enhance their productivity and help them reach new customers, driving growth and job creation. A 2011 McKinsey Global Institute study spanning 13 mature and emerging markets showed that the Internet accounted for over a tenth of economic growth in the preceding five years, and that 75 percent of the Internet’s economic impact accrues to traditional (non-Internet focused) industries. The same study found that SMEs making intensive use of Internet-enabled technologies grow twice as fast and export twice as much as their peers.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has every potential for establishing critically important market access and trade disciplines which are indispensable to ensuring global economic growth in the 21st century. We urge your support and commitment for meaningful provisions on cross-border data flows in the TPP that will drive the digital economy.  Whether the TPP will truly promote the digital economy depends on the following factors: 1) clear, enforceable obligations to allow the cross-border flow of data and that prohibit requirements to localize data in particular jurisdictions; 2) exceptions and limitations to such obligations that are limited and consistent with existing international trade law; 3) dispute settlement mechanisms on a par with all the other TPP obligations; and 4) no additional reservations that undermine the effect and enforceability of such obligations.

Thank you for your commitment to concluding an ambitious TPP that will truly enable the growth of the digital economy in the 21st century. We, the undersigned coalition of industry associations and our members, look forward to working with you on these important issues.


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Public Policy Tags: Trade & Investment