Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness, today introduced legislation to protect the Internet from restrictive measures that obstruct the free flow of data in the global economy. The Digital Trade Act of 2013 would establish negotiating principles to address several key digital trade matters in future bilateral and multilateral agreements and in multistakeholder settings. Those principles include: preventing or eliminating restrictions on cross-border data flows, prohibiting localization requirements for data and computing infrastructure, ensuring that provisions affecting platform Internet sites are consistent with U.S. law, and recommitting the United States to the multistakeholder model of Internet governance. The bill requires the president to prioritize digital trade and ensure it benefits from robust and enforceable rules.
“Digital trade is a driver of the U.S. economy and critical to global innovation and economic growth,” said Thune. “That growth is threatened by rising digital protectionism by several of our trading partners. It is imperative that the U.S. fight for strong rules to ensure that American businesses have the freedom to compete and innovate all around the world. Our common-sense legislation would establish important negotiating principles for international agreements affecting Internet-enabled commerce. I hope our colleagues will join us in supporting this bill to ensure the digital economy continues to flourish.”
"America’s trade negotiating objectives must reflect the fact that the Internet represents the shipping lane for 21st Century goods and services,” Wyden said. “Trade in digital goods and services is growing and driving economic growth and job creation all around the country. U.S. digital exports are beating imports by large margins, but out-dated trade rules threaten this growth by providing opportunities for protectionist policies overseas. The U.S. has the opportunity to establish new trade rules that preserve the Internet as a platform to share ideas and for expanding commerce and this legislation aims to help achieve these goals."Thune and Wyden have been active in calling attention to the growing importance of digital trade issues. Last month, the senators wrote a joint op-ed calling for Congress and President Obama to secure digital trade rules that promote and preserve a global, open Internet.