BECKERMAN: “Promoting internet-friendly disciplines in NAFTA on data flows, balanced copyright, intermediary liability, and customs represents a massive opportunity for the internet sector and the U.S. economy as a whole.”
Washington, DC – Today, Internet Association released a white paper outlining the internet industry’s policy priorities for modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
“NAFTA was approved before the proliferation of the commercial internet,” said IA President & CEO Michael Beckerman. “Today, U.S. businesses in nearly every sector and in every state leverage the internet to reach millions of customers across the globe and create quality American jobs. Promoting internet-friendly disciplines in NAFTA on data flows, balanced copyright, intermediary liability, and customs represents a massive opportunity for the internet sector and the U.S. economy as a whole.”
The internet sector represents 6 percent of U.S. GDP and employs nearly 3 million Americans. The internet has helped the United States establish a $159 billion global digital trade surplus, and a $41.8 billion services trade surplus with Canada and Mexico. And these benefits reach well-beyond the internet economy – 75 percent of the economic benefits of the internet go to traditional industries like manufacturing and agriculture.
Key policy recommendations include:
- Data Flows And Digital Services: NAFTA should include an e-commerce chapter with provisions designed to promote the free flow of information across borders and prevent forced data localization. NAFTA should also prohibit governments from making online services liable for third-party content. Mexico and Canada lack a clear legal principle like Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, creating increased risks for U.S. internet service exporters.
- Intellectual Property: NAFTA should be updated to ensure copyright rules work for the digital environment and enable U.S. digital exports. Fair use provisions and copyright safe harbors foster innovation and investment – nearly 80 percent of venture capital investors are less likely to invest in services where safe harbors don’t exist.
- Customs/Trade Facilitation: Internet-enabled exporters are sometimes unable to reach international customers because outdated trade rules don’t accommodate small e-commerce exports. Complex trade rules – such as commercially insignificant de minimus thresholds – limit the growth and success of small internet-enabled U.S. sellers, sometimes even precluding them from exporting at all.
To read the full paper, click here.