Today’s digital economy is enabling businesses and society in ways not previously envisioned. However, government policy is struggling to keep pace with the digital era. Structural, legal, or regulatory barriers, including restrictions on cross border data flows, server localization requirements, uneven liability regimes, and forced technology transfer inhibit or outright block digital products and services. Emerging issues, including France’s threat to impose new taxes on digital services, create additional barriers. Washington’s digital commerce exports totaled almost $2.9 billion between 2014 and 2018 helping support the nearly 250,000 jobs in the information, communications, and technology (ICT) sector and businesses throughout the state.
We must modernize our trade agreements to harness the opportunities of the digital era. WCIT advocates a comprehensive approach through multilateral trade agreements modeled on provisions in the US-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) Trade Agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (CPTPP). Multilateral negotiations and agreements, such as the negotiations on e-commerce underway at the World Trade Organization (WTO), can build on this progress and unlock digital trade’s full potential to drive growth across our region.
Read the WCIT research report Washington State Digital Trade: Barriers and Opportunities.