USCIB signed a multi-industry association letter decrying the Biden Administration’s decision to end its support for proposals on data flows, data localization and source code, as part of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Joint Initiative on E-commerce (JSI) negotiations. The letter expresses USCIB’s deep dismay regarding a reversal on these core disciplines and U.S. leadership on digital economy priorities.
The letter, co-signed with associations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers and Recording Industry Association of America, expresses concern that this decision undermines the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) longstanding commitment to protecting cross-border data flows, which facilitate core values and goals, such as the spread of information, freedom of expression and ability to solve complex global challenges. The letter criticizes USTR for signaling an end to the Administration’s fight against discrimination affecting American companies and their workers, as well as legitimizing digital protectionism across the globe, which strengthens adversaries and hurts American businesses.
The letter encourages USTR to reverse this harmful decision and return the U.S. to its role of global leader in a rules-based trading system that benefits American companies, aligns with the U.S.’s core values and empowers the government to push back against regulatory overreach by authoritarian regimes.
USCIB President and CEO Whitney Baird also spoke with leadership at USTR to express concerns about the implications of this policy reversal at IPEF and the WTO JSI for e-commerce negotiations. Baird refuted the narrative that the digital negotiations only benefit the ICT industry, stressing they also serve the much larger universe of manufacturers, retailers, financial services and logistics and professional services firms that rely on these services and technologies. USCIB made clear that a U.S. vacuum on the global stage leaves space for states like India to step in and advance digital protectionism.
USCIB also is raising concerns at the OECD through our voice in Business at OECD (BIAC) to ensure continued support for strong disciplines that promote barrier-free data flows and legitimate access to digital products and services. USCIB will continue to strategize on next steps regarding getting the U.S. position back on track on digital issues at the WTO, IPEF and beyond.