Chief among the actions needed by policymakers at this time are aggressive efforts to open both new and currently-closed markets to American goods and services. Trade agreements are the tools we use to open markets to U.S. IT goods and services and the Technology CEO Council is committed to working with Congress and the Administration to further these objectives. Policymakers also need to ensure consistent enforcement of trade agreements against tariff and non-tariff trade barriers. And policy leaders in both parties need to avoid the kind of protectionist rhetoric that leads to trade wars and dissuades other nations from dealing with American companies and trade negotiators.
Over 70 percent of spending on information and communications technologies is outside the United States. That is why it is in America’s interest to have a robust trading relationship around the globe. Economic growth through trade and investment is an essential element in the future success of American workers and employers. Access to global markets enables our companies to make substantial investments in research, capital plant, worker training, and education here at home; increase U.S. productivity through innovative products and processes; and, generate new jobs, firms and ideas that maintain the pre-eminence of the U.S. IT industry.
Global trade and investment also promotes American security, both by improving relations with trading partner nations and by reducing global poverty and inequity (and thus mitigating the conditions that give rise to conflict and terrorism).
Removing our own outdated controls on high-tech exports and implementing favorable trade deals as aggressively as other countries are vital to the United States achieving its goal of doubling export. Export control policies can both place U.S. companies on an even playing field with overseas competitors while protecting national security.
Current export controls are based on a 1979 law that envisioned modest improvements on 1979 computers, failing to account for Moore’s Law and the torrid pace of progress among widely available technologies. Policymakers should review existing laws and regulations and adopt more flexible and updated policies that support national and economic security. Similarly, a sensible knowledge controls policy must find the balance between protecting our critical intellectual property and assets while also ensuring the appropriate flow of knowledge within companies and organizations. In this way, we will make certain that innovation and collaboration are not impeded.
The U.S.-China commercial relationship remains critical to the growth of the American economy and for continued U.S. high-tech leadership globally. With its vast market size, robust workforce but inconsistent economic and governmental policies, China remains the best of trading partners and the worst of trading partners. Similarly, China’s accession to the WTO has presented both opportunities and challenges for the U.S. information technology industry.
The Technology CEO Council is committed to working with both the U.S. and Chinese governments to ensure constructive engagement between the nations. China must adopt and implement laws and regulations that promote further opening the Chinese market to U.S. IT goods and services, meaningful protection of U.S. intellectual property and fair national treatment. And U.S. policymakers should acknowledge when the Chinese government takes positive steps, recognizing the evolutionary nature of China’s economy and the counterproductive impact of protectionism or trade wars.