The Trans Pacific Partnership will bolster digital trade

By: Peter Davidson
The Trans Pacific Partnership will bolster digital trade

The information and communications technology industry is driving economic growth globally by transforming the way we work, learn and play. Verizon believes that ensuring the ability of individuals and organizations to send and receive data globally is essential to fulfilling the promise of the digital future and connecting the billions of people around the world yet to be brought online.

Ambassador Michael Froman and his team of negotiators at the United States Trade Representatives (USTR) have delivered a 21st century trade agreement that establishes important new standards for the digital economy in international trade. Specifically, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) contains important provisions protecting the cross-border flow of data upon which so many industries rely to serve their customers. These provisions are vital at a time when countries around the world are contemplating economically damaging restrictions on the cross border flow of data. TPP also protects against countries establishing local data storage requirements so that companies can fully employ the flexibility and efficiency made possible by the global Internet. As a consequence, TPP will help ensure that technological innovations such as the Internet of things, cloud computing and 5G realize their full benefits. And by protecting data flows, TPP will set the standard for future trade agreements that will need to meet, or exceed, its protections.

To help make sure this data traffic flows as smoothly as possible, TPP also contains provisions to ease global network interconnection bottlenecks by creating rules that ensure that international undersea cables are able to access cable landing stations where they can interconnect with local service providers.

As with any tough negotiation, not all outcomes are perfect. We urge the Administration to work with Congress and affected business sectors to resolve any outstanding issues. In particular, the failure of the TPP to protect data flows and defend against data localization requirements for the financial services industry is a significant omission. We hope the Administration will work to resolve this issue going forward so that all sectors will be able to fully realize the benefits and flexibilities that information and communications technologies provide for global business.

Verizon urges Congress, after it has undertaken its review, to pass the TPP to ensure that the U.S. economy - with its hundreds of millions of workers and consumers that depend on the ability to send and receive data - can enjoy the trade benefits it creates.

Peter Davidson is responsible for federal legislative affairs and global public policy at Verizon. Before joining the company, Davidson served as general counsel assisting the United States Trade Representative in negotiating and implementing trade agreements and supervising litigation at the World Trade Organization. Prior to becoming general counsel to the USTR in February 2001, Davidson was vice president for Congressional Affairs at Qwest, coordinating all federal legislative activities for that company.