May 12, 2017

WASHINGTON – ITI, the global voice of the tech sector, released its response for the “Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficits” after President Donald Trump signed an executive order in March directing his administration to examine the cause of trade deficits in goods with key U.S. export markets. In its comments on behalf of the technology industry, ITI urged the administration to focus its efforts on reducing trade barriers that prevent U.S. companies from selling their goods and services overseas and that impede cross-border data flows:

“ITI believes that the focus of the administration’s trade policy should not be to impact trade balances, but rather to identify and address the trade barriers themselves,” ITI said in its comments. “This approach does not factor in trade in services, in which the United States is a global leader. In fact, the United States runs a surplus on services trade with all but one of the markets upon which this report focuses.”

To spur fresh economic growth, ITI instead urged the administration to eliminate restrictions on digital trade and cross-border data flows:

“ITI would welcome greater U.S. government engagement to address both barriers to trade in goods and services and restrictions on cross-border data flows,” ITI said in its comments. “Technology products and services drive growth and creation in virtually every sector of the economy, allowing our manufacturers, automakers, energy firms, construction firms, financial firms, healthcare providers, and other U.S. industries to be more competitive, at home and abroad. U.S. competitiveness, jobs in all sectors, and businesses of all types now depend on companies being able to move digital information rapidly and freely, including across borders, to support their businesses and reach customers in foreign markets.”

ITI recommended the administration take the following steps as it drafts and completes its examination:

  • Evaluate the benefits of trading relationships on the basis of a more complete economic picture of the United States’ participation in global trading networks.
  • Delink addressing barriers to trade from reducing trade deficits.
  • Closely examine the role of services and cross-border data flows in enhancing the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers and other industries.

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Public Policy Tags: Trade & Investment, data-localization, Forced Localization