The group will serve as a “Rapid Response” team to identify and combat barriers to digital trade and promote sound policies to advance global digital trade. Led by deputy USTR Robert Holleyman and composed of USTR staff with expertise in e-commerce, telecommunications, services, intellectual property, innovation and industrial competitiveness, the group will work to address barriers of digital trade to promote the digital economy through a free and open Internet and commerce without borders.
“The Internet and digital technologies have a profound and positive impact on the U.S. economy, and it is important that barriers to trade and digital protectionism are monitored and addressed,” Froman said. “Alongside the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the first trade agreement to comprehensively address issues of the digital economy, the Digital Trade Working Group is an important resource to help the United States maintain its ‘digital trade surplus,’ and allow companies and workers in every sector of the U.S. economy to use the Internet to deliver innovative, American-made products and services abroad.”
USTR said the Digital Trade Working Group was established to develop policy responses to existing and emerging barriers to digital trade around the globe. It will closely examine barriers to cloud computing, platform services and the trade in digital products, as well as coordinate the negotiation and implementation of digital trade provisions bilaterally and across ongoing and completed negotiations including the 12-nation TPP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership free-trade pact being negotiated between the U.S. and European Union, and the Trade in Services Agreement.
Launched in April 2013, TiSA is a trade initiative focused exclusively on service industries. Drawing on best practices from around the world, TiSA will encompass state-of-the-art trade rules aimed at promoting fair and open trade across the full spectrum of service sectors — from telecommunications and technology to distribution and delivery services, tackling new issues confronting the global marketplace such as restrictions on cross-border data flows, and the development of strong, transparent and effective regulatory policies.
The Working Group will also develop strategies for engagement in multilateral fora, including the World Trade Organization, APEC, G-20 and G-7 to support both an expansion in digital trade and the adoption of USTR’s existing array of digital trade-promoting rules more broadly.